Numbness and Joy and Wonder
Last month, throughout the greater New York area, our campaigners handed out 1,872,800 broadside tracts. We received contact information from 11,718 people who want to hear more from us including 3,689 Jewish seekers and 2,712 Gentile seekers. We knocked on 9,430 doors and connected with 2,170 people in their homes. We also connected by telephone with 8,711 of the 25,790 people that we called. We sent 3,396 copies of the “Jesus for Jews“ story book free to seekers who requested them through our evangelistic ads and mailings, and prayed with 241 Jewish people and 261 Gentiles to receive Jesus as Messiah and Lord.
I am feeling a bit numb right now as I reflect, not just on five weeks but on five-and-a-half years of Operation Behold Your God.
It is hard to believe we have passed this major milestone in Jews for Jesus. Even though I am overwhelmed (hence the numbness) I can still feel myself filling up with joy and wonder at all that God has done. Remember how Jesus’ early followers felt when they returned from the original, first century witnessing campaign? Then the seventy returned with joy . . .” (Luke 10:17).
I think of that old hymn: “There is joy, joy, joy in serving Jesus, joy that floods within my soul…” That is what I feel right now. That joy is something to treasure, to remember, especially when times are tough or when discouragement comes. Along with joy the disciples experienced, they also felt a sense of wonderment, exclaiming to Jesus, “. . . even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”
It is thrilling to realize that God supernaturally supports and empowers the work we do in His name. Our campaigners did not perform any exorcisms that I know of, but we did see God intervene in numerous situations, turning opposition into opportunities for people to hear the gospel. You can read some of the most recent stories in this edition of “RealTime“ and if you didn’t tune in for our daily web updates over the summer, we’ll show you how to catch up on more stories at the end of our “Did You Know” section. And, if you’re on our regular mailing list, the full report of BYG will arrive at your home in just a few weeks in the form of a special “Jews for Jesus Newspaper.” That newspaper will also announce what is next for Jews for Jesus now that BYG has concluded, so I hope you will be looking for it.
I think you will be blessed and encouraged to hear about what the Lord has done. There are many reasons to rejoice. Nevertheless, the Almighty sees things differently than we do. Sometimes the things that impress us are not the greatest reasons to rejoice.
Jesus cautioned those 70 disciples against being impressed by the things that weren’t so impressive to God. He told them, “Don’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you. Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
That doesn’t mean that what happened for those 70 followers was insignificant. Jesus was telling them that the best reason for wonder and rejoicing was the eternal destiny secured for them in heaven. Even so, our greatest joy and wonder should be in what God has done for us, not in what we have done for God.
Our focus should be where we are headed, not where we have just been. Our joy should be in the certainty of our salvation, not our spiritual authority over Satan, or even how many tracts we’ve handed out. When the object of our joy is something that is over and finished our joy will soon be over and finished as well. That is why we warn our campaigners of a phenomenon we sometimes call the “post-campaign blues.” It is easy to feel let down following the “spiritual high” we experience.
Lasting joy is based on heavenly promises, not earthly particulars. We have many reasons to rejoice, but the best reason is that the God of the Universe has saved us and given us the message of salvation to proclaim to a lost and dying world. We are headed towards a glorious future where we will be in the presence of Almighty God along with all the angels and saints in heaven, celebrating His greatness and glory forever. Now that is pure joy and pure wonder! And that is the eternal reality that gives us our greatest and most lasting joy. That is the joy that brings our Lord pleasure as well.
In fact, Luke tells us: “At that time Jesus was full of joy through the Holy Spirit saying, I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from [the] wise and prudent and revealed them to babes . . .” (Luke10:21).
Then Jesus says, “Yes, Father for this was your good pleasure.” The Son’s greatest joy is found in the Father’s good pleasure—and God receives great joy when people come to know Him through Jesus Christ. This great joy in Jesus is a wonderful cycle that we are all invited to enter into.
Every time we preach the gospel, every time we share Yeshua (Jesus) with the unsaved, every time God chooses to reveal Himself through these frail lips of ours, we bring fullness of joy in the Holy Spirit to the Son and good pleasure to our heavenly Father. What greater source of joy could we have as we celebrate the conclusion of BYG and look forward to the next steps of our ministry?
Yes, we need to rest for a little while just as Jesus encouraged His disciples to do (Mark 6:31). But we must continue to proclaim the gospel in all of our branches around the world. There can be no greater joy for us than in giving our all to the hope and promise of heaven. It is for this joy and for this wonder that we live and serve.
Executive Director, Missionary
David Brickner is executive director of Jews for Jesus. David oversees the world-wide ministry from its headquarters in San Francisco. David received his Master’s degree in Missiology with a concentration in Jewish Evangelism and Judaic Studies from the Fuller School of World Mission. He has authored several books, and has been interviewed on national television shows such as Larry King Live. David’s daughter, Ilana is a recent graduate of Biola. His son, Isaac is on the missionary staff of Jews for Jesus. Isaac and his wife, Shaina, have one daughter, Nora, which makes David part of the grandparent club, a membership he is very proud of. See more here.