A Message from Moishe on Personal Barriers to the Gospel
At the invitation of a Christian wife, I went to visit her Jewish husband at their home. We had a delightful meal and as soon as we finished (before I could say anything), he started telling me why it was impossible for him to believe in Jesus and raised the usual objections. For instance, If Jesus was the Messiah, why isn’t there peace in the world?” “How can you say God is three when we Jews know that He is one?” “You really would not expect a Jew to worship a man as God, would you?”
He didn’t seem to need my participation to build a case for why he should not be expected to believe in Jesus. But just as he felt that he built a comfortable wall between Jesus and himself, I confronted him with a question. I asked, “If all of these objections and questions could be answered, would you be willing to find out whether or not Jesus is the Messiah, and would you have the courage to believe in Him even though there might be severe social consequences?”
I knew by his silence that he was thinking about it. Then he said, “I can’t say, because Jesus is not the Messiah.”
I answered, “But if He were the Messiah would you be willing to believe, even though it might have severe social consequences?”
The man replied, “But how could I find out?”
I told him through the Scripture, and once again there was silence.
So for a third time I asked the question, and he said, “It would break my parents’ hearts. My father was in a concentration camp and my mother is the daughter of a rabbi. I don’t think that I could do such a terrible thing to them. I am in business with my sister and that would put a strain on our relationship,” and the list of personal reasons for why he could not believe went on and on.
My response was, “So you are telling me that you are not willing to find out, even though it might be true?”
He said, “I guess you are right.”
My only comment at the time was to point out that he had made the decision to not find out. A few months later, the same man called me on the telephone and told me, “I decided to find out. He really is the Messiah. I am going to be baptized in two weeks and am calling to invite you to my baptism.”
I wasn’t able to go to the baptism, but I did get together with him—although he did not need anything further from me. He said, “Just knowing that I had decided not to know, helped me want to know.”
When people are committed to avoiding finding out about Jesus, you cannot change their minds. However, you can help them see what their true objections are, and you can point out the decisions they have made. Some, like this man, will realize that they do not wish to be people who decided not to know.
P.S. This man’s father, the concentration camp survivor, also accepted Christ and found peace with the Lord.