Last month, we announced a new evangelistic outreach called, Operation Behold Your God.” Just in case you didn’t see the newsletter article, we are committed to reaching every city outside of Israel with a Jewish population of 25,000 or more for Jesus—by the year 2005. Many friends have told us they are thrilled that Jewish people in these far-flung cities will hear the gospel. Yet, many overlook something just as thrilling, and that is the effect that Behold Your God will have on the non-Jewish communities of these same cities.
During our Summer Witnessing Campaigns this past year, 155 Jews came to faith in Christ, but 735 Gentiles also received the Lord Jesus. Five times as many non-Jews came to faith in Christ as Jews! This has always been true of our ministry, particularly with our street witnessing campaigns. This “well kept secret” is important to remember as we dream of what God can do through Operation Behold Your God.
Our founder, Moishe Rosen, was on a television show with a rabbi in Detroit many years ago. The rabbi made what he seemed to think was an accusation saying, “I know about you Jews for Jesus. You convert three times as many Gentiles as you do Jews.” Moishe responded, “What do you want us to do, throw them back?” The Bible says that all the angels in heaven rejoice when one sinner repents (Luke 15:10) and we Jews for Jesus love having a part in that rejoicing whenever possible.
If you know your Scriptures, you won’t be surprised by this “secret”—that Jewish evangelism helps all kinds of people come to faith. That is why God commanded the gospel to go “to the Jew first.” When you preach the gospel in a way that Jews can hear, a whole lot of other folk listen in as well.
So while we may refer to our “best kept secret” with a smile, it’s only a secret to our opposition. They like to use words like “targeting” to describe any efforts to proclaim the gospel in ways that our Jewish people can understand. Part of their rationale for rejecting the gospel is the notion that we single out Jews in order to rob them of their Jewishness. That notion is harder for people to sustain when they see that we are giving the same message to non-Jews. In all fairness to our opposition, it is difficult for those who don’t know Jesus to grasp how telling people about Him is an act of obedience to God and an act of compassion to whomever will hear. Even more, it is difficult for them to see that proclaiming the gospel to everyone is our destiny as Jews.
Jews for Jesus is a Jewish mission, but that does not mean that our mission is only to Jews. Certainly, when it comes to follow-up and personal visits, our resources are limited and our commitment is to Jewish people. But when we go out to the streets, we preach the gospel to everyone. In this way, we have opportunities to extend the blessing God spoke to Abraham when He said, “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). This is the very purpose for which God called Abraham and his descendants: to be a vessel through which He would proclaim good news and accomplish worldwide witness.
Unfortunately, Israel as a nation has yet to fully understand or accept that responsibility. Yet, God’s purposes are not thwarted by human unbelief or disobedience. His call upon Israel to be the means of worldwide blessing is being accomplished in Israel’s greater Son, the Messiah. “…Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth'” (Isaiah 49:6).
So, Abraham’s blessing is made available to all of the nations of the world through Israel’s Messiah Jesus. We believe God still wants to use Jewish people to bless the nations today and the greatest blessing we have to offer is still the good news of the Messiah Jesus.
That is why we are so excited about Operation Behold Your God. We know we are not the first people to go to these cities to proclaim the gospel and we hope to stand with churches and evangelists who have already been reaching out to some of these cities for years. But for many, many people of the “Behold Your God cities,” this will be the first time that they hear the gospel from the lips of Jews. This will be quite a shock to some who have never heard of Jews believing in Jesus. This will be particularly true in areas that have been known for persecuting the Jewish people.
We believe that as Jews return to share Yeshua’s love and forgiveness in cities where so many of our people were persecuted, it will provoke many to listen to a message they may have heard and ignored all their lives. We hope and pray that as they hear the gospel in a new way, they will respond in faith.
Recently, one of our staff, Avi Snyder, traveled through Eastern Europe to make contacts and establish networks for some of our Behold Your God cities. Avi handed out gospel tracts in the Polish language—just outside of the infamous Warsaw Ghetto. People stopped on the street. They were amazed to see Jews proclaiming the love of Christ in a place where our people were treated with such hatred. A couple of months ago, we opened a branch office of Jews for Jesus in Essen, Germany. So Germans—who are so deeply aware of their country’s history and tragic relationship to the Jewish people—are now hearing the gospel proclaimed by Jews who love Jesus. It is not merely for the sake of our own Jewish people that God has raised up a ministry such as ours.
Dear friends and supporters, many of you have stood with us through the years because you want to have a part in reaching our Jewish people with the gospel and, for that, we are truly grateful. We will continue to carry out that mandate by God’s grace. But we hope and pray and believe that God will accomplish much more through our efforts. As we keep on proclaiming the gospel to the Jew first, God will continue touching the hearts of all kinds of people He brings our way. Thus it will still be said of our people, “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Have you caught a glimpse of our vision for Operation Behold Your God? Can you see the scope of what we hope God will do through Jews for Jesus? Then I hope you will join us in praising God that His eternal purposes will surely be accomplished!