You love the Lord. You know from Scripture that God wants you to tell everyone you can about salvation in Jesus, and that includes Jewish people. Yet you approach witnessing with at least some degree of fear and uncertainty. You feel vulnerable and somewhat uncertain.
You fear creating an unpleasant situation—that your Jewish friends will misconstrue your efforts at communicating the Good News as aggression against their religion, and that may destroy your friendship. You are intimidated by the possibility that if the person to whom you witness is not in the friend” category, it may engender a hostile reaction from a stranger.
Besides feeling vulnerable, you may also fear ineffectiveness: You don’t know where or how to begin. You feel awkward and doubt that you can initiate a story in a respectable, effective manner. You worry that you can never bring such a witness to its desired end—leading someone to a saving faith commitment.
Because of such basic feelings of vulnerability and inadequacy, many Christians find a multitude of reasons to delay witnessing or even not to witness at all. This stockpile of excuses becomes a shelter of myths under which they can retreat any time they feel uneasy about speaking out and want a reason not to do it.
If you are serious about wanting to witness, let’s unravel some of those myths:
Myth Number One: If a person doesn’t respond to my witness, it must be because I haven’t properly presented the Gospel.
People do not naturally give their lives to Christ. They hold on to the reins as long as possible. Therefore, we should expect resistance. Sometimes we can present the Gospel in exactly the right way but still have it rejected. Other times we can fumble through our words and forget a Scripture or two, yet find that in spite of our mistakes, the person wants to accept Christ as Savior.
There really is no “right” or “wrong” way to present the Gospel. Some methods may work better than others, and certainly, doctrinal knowledge helps. Yet God approaches each person as an individual. We must also do this when we witness. What might have been right in witnessing to one person may not be right in witnessing to the next.
Myth Number Two: It takes a long time for someone to discover the truth of the Gospel.
Sometimes it takes a person a long time to come to faith, but usually it doesn’t. An individual often realizes his or her need for a savior after taking a personal inventory. This happens because the Holy Spirit has touched that person’s heart. Someone else may have planted the Gospel seed long before you came along—maybe someone who thought that he or she had failed.
Myth Number Three: All Jews have a deep, scholarly knowledge of the Old Testament. I feel inadequate in handling the Scriptures. If I am to be effective in evangelism, especially Jewish evangelism, I must know the Bible very well.
Certainly Bible knowledge helps in witnessing, but God doesn’t require that you have a certain number of verses memorized before you can witness. If you are faithful in trying, He will direct what you say. In fact, often you will find that you know more than the person to whom you are speaking. Few Jewish people today are well versed in even the Old Testament portion of the Scriptures, and just the basic knowledge that led you to become a Christian probably surpasses what most Jews know about the Bible. In witnessing, you will find that you know more than you thought you did. Furthermore, you will usually end up learning much about Christ as you tell others about Him. The section in this book on how to use the Gospel of John provides enough direction for you to get started.*
It is our responsibility to tell others about Jesus whether we speak eloquently or not. Some of the most powerful witnesses make terrible spokespeople. Yet God chooses them.
*The above article is actually an excerpt from our new book, Witnessing to Jews, by Moishe and Ceil Rosen (if you are new to our ministry, that’s the founder of Jews for Jesus and his wife). This book not only removes the roadblocks to witnessing, it gives you the “map” to navigate your way through all kinds of objections people might raise. For information on ordering this book, see page two and write, call, fax or e-mail us!