One of the tasks of a Jews for Jesus staff person is to speak in local churches. We do this for several reasons. One is to win the hearts of God’s people to Jewish evangelism. Another is that it provides an opportunity for church members to invite their Jewish friends and neighbors to come and hear the gospel. Sometimes that becomes a major link in the chain of events that leads to their salvation.
That was the case when Abby (not her real name) came to hear a Christ in the Passover” presentation. She was struck by the fact that one can remain Jewish and believe in Jesus. She was so afraid of giving up her Jewish identity, and it was reassuring for her to learn that she would not be required to do that if she became a believer. Of course, that realization did not make Abby a Christian, but it was a step in the right direction in her search for the Messiah.
Abby’s search had begun several years earlier when her son became a strong believer in Jesus. She started to notice that he had begun to change, and for the better. That made her ask questions, but being Jewish, questions were as far as she wanted to go. She was not going to change her beliefs. She needed proof, and she felt that nothing would convince her.
Abby talked to a rabbi who told her to spend some time studying. “Become informed,” he told her. “Read books written by Jewish authors.”
It was at that time that Abby came to our Passover presentation. I called Abby a week later to ask if she would be interested in studying the Bible with me. She told me what the rabbi had told her, and I responded, “Why not read the Bible rather than books written about the Bible? In books by Jewish non-believers, the information is written with the understanding that Jesus is not the Messiah. Those books are not objective sources of information.”
Abby agreed to get right to the heart of the matter, the Bible. Since she lived too far for us to meet in person, we began to have study sessions over the phone. We read several prophecies, such as Isaiah 53, Psalm 22 and Micah 5, and then read together their fulfillment found in the New Testament. There are several passages like this that show the Jewishness of Jesus, and this kind of study was just what Abby needed.
“I still can’t figure out why God allows good people to suffer and evil people to prosper,” she said. I suggested that she read some of the Psalms and said, “We don’t know why certain things are allowed to happen, and why some people experience tragedy while others seem to go through life untouched by difficult situations. Abby, for some questions there is not really an answer. God has told us just what He wants us to know in His Word. The other things we can either find answered by prayer or just accept that we cannot understand everything.” Abby seemed to understand this. I suggested that she begin reading the Gospel of John on her own.
The next week, she had read through John 4.
We began talking and after a while I heard her say she believed Jesus was the Messiah. I was a bit taken aback. “Did you just say you believe Jesus is the Messiah?”
“Yes. It seems very clear that Jesus had to be the Messiah. The evidence is so strong, and I guess I believe it,” Abby said.
I explained that God was interested in her heart and her life. There was only one thing left for her to do. I asked her if she wanted me to help her pray a prayer of commitment and salvation. She said she wanted to pray herself, and she prayed for about five minutes, giving her life to Jesus as her Messiah and Savior. I was amazed. She sounded like she had prayed all her life. Her prayer was truly from her heart. She had finally found her Messiah!