God often surprises us with a string of events that allow us to share His gospel with people we’d never have guessed were interested. This story from Paris branch leader Joshua Turnil encouraged us—please read it and pray along with us:
“I gladly agreed to my brother-in-law’s request to chant the traditional seven blessings for his wedding—even though I felt certain the rabbi wouldn’t allow it. You see, the synagogue where the wedding was being held is very Orthodox, so I expected at any moment my brother-in-law would call back to say, ‘Sorry, but it won’t fly, the cantor (officiate who sings the liturgy) found out you’re a Jew for Jesus.’ But the call never came—in fact, the cantor asked me to sing more than just the seven blessings. Praise God, my involvement in the wedding opened a door to friendship with my sister-in-law’s father, Daniel,* who is the president of his local synagogue.
“Daniel and his wife accepted an invitation to meet up with my wife, Delphine and me at a kosher deli. A rabbi I’d recently met walked in during our meal. He came to the table, I suppose to ‘warn’ my new friends, and began to speak ill of me and of Jesus. Daniel would not hear it, and reminded the rabbi of lashon ha ra (a Hebrew expression referring to the sin of speaking evil). Daniel later observed, ‘He forgets that Jesus was also a rabbi and probably knew more about the Torah than he does!’
“The rest of the evening went well and Daniel and his wife accepted an invitation to celebrate Passover with my family for the second Seder.** My wife, Delphine, was concerned that I hadn’t made it clear that we would bring out the Messianic elements of the Seder meal. That concern melted away the very next day, when Daniel said, ‘I hope I wasn’t out of line the other night when I was speaking of Jesus. Of course, that is your area of expertise. I look forward to Passover when we can speak more about Him.’
During the Seder, we lifted up the matzah and said, per tradition, ‘This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in Egypt.’ We discussed how, even though Passover is about freedom from affliction and slavery, the rule of tradition tends to enslave us nonetheless. Daniel asked, ‘What is the difference between our tradition and yours?’
‘Jesus said that the bread is no longer the affliction of the lambs in Egypt,’ I explained, ‘but it’s His own affliction and death that frees us from sin and anything that would enslave us—including religion.’ Nothing could have been more natural or easy than to speak of what Jesus did for our people, and how He related it to Passover. Others at the Seder asked similar questions, giving more opportunities to explain the gospel, and our belief that Jesus is the Lamb of God. It was a holy night. At the end of the evening when we lifted up the traditional cup, Daniel said ‘To life (L’Chayim), to Abraham, to Moses…and to Yeshua!’
Please pray for Daniel and his family, along with others we had opportunities to share with . . . that God would reveal that the story of Jesus as the Lamb of God isn’t merely a tradition among some Jews, but God’s true story of redemption for people of all traditions.”
*not his real name
**Seder is the liturgy of the Passover meal; many Jewish people attend one in their own home, and another with friends and/or extended family.