In Lyon, France, the Festival of Lights (les Fêtes des Lumbers) does not refer to Hanukkah. In 1652 residents believed that Mary, mother of Jesus, had rid the city of a terrible plague, so they lit candles to thank her. This became a tradition, and then, ten years ago, the lighting of candles gave way to spectacular electric light displays, and that’s become an annual event. This year crowds of residents and tourists flooded the streets to see 70 artistic installations light up the city.

But nothing shines brighter than Jesus, so our team in France, along with friends of our ministry, took the occasion to greet the crowds with the gospel.

Karl deSouza, from our Paris branch, reported, “Many people noticed our sweaters, which read in Hebrew and French either ‘Hear O Israel, Jesus is Messiah’ or ‘Jews for Jesus.’  A Jewish couple visiting from Toulouse passed me by and said that Jesus was not the Messiah.  I called back, ‘May I ask you a question?’  They stopped.  We had a good conversation about Messianic prophecy, and though they were still skeptical, they said they would read Isaiah 53 for themselves.

“I also met two Jewish men who affirmed that I could be right about Jesus as the Messiah, ‘but,’ they said, ‘at the end, we’ll all know.’  They believed that all ways ultimately lead to God. I shared the Scriptures’ unique perspective of God, in contrast to all the other religions and human philosophies in the world:  ‘All the world religions and human philosophies teach that people can reach God through their efforts, good works and religion.  The Bible pictures a holy God who, in love, reaches down to us in the person of the Messiah Jesus, paying the punishment we deserve through His sacrifice and resurrection from the dead, allowing us to receive His gift of eternal life through the Messiah.’  Yanick said that that was an interesting perspective he’d never thought about, and that he would consider it.

“I also met several Muslims who noticed ‘Jews for Jesus’ on my sweater and were curious.  However, most were convinced from their own faith that God does not have a Son.  We had many deep spiritual conversations with Muslims—all very respectful.  Please pray for God to bring fruit from our outreach at the Lyon Festival of Lights.”

Karl deSouza is second from the right.