Why Jesus? Because of who he is. Because of what he said. Because his reality transforms lives in the midst of a broken world. Because he fulfills the hopes of our Jewish people, and of the rest of the world. Because he atones for our sins. Because believing in him makes sense. There are as many reasons for “why Jesus” as there are followers of him. Discover what some of them have found.
But what really made an impact was when I came across Jesus. No one on the entire spectrum of the human race, from the most spiritual to the atheist, can remain indifferent to him. You cannot help but like him – his wisdom, compassion, and love. Every time I read Jesus’ words and learned about his deeds, I wanted more. He was the Jesus I never knew.
The adrenaline coursing through my veins pulsed to the racing of my heart. I was completely caught off guard as I sat facing the enemy. Demon deprogrammers were going to try and bribe me out of the cult mindset.
I had a semblance of Jewish education and a strong sense of Jewish identity. But since my home was a home without God – and since the Christians and the Jews I knew did not seem to truly believe – I assumed that God must be present elsewhere.
I know that I am still Jewish. I don’t use the word “converted” because it implies that I’ve left something behind. I do not feel I have left anything.
Hans handed Rich the Bible. “In that millisecond,” Rich recalls, “my life was shattered. The name that I saw at the top of the page was Isaiah! Hans had been reading to me from MY Bible, from my Hebrew Scriptures, and I felt as though someone had taken a sword and cut me to pieces.”
I started being nagged with the idea of Jesus being the Jewish Messiah and the only way to know God. It wasn’t so much that it was a problem for me because I was Jewish and didn’t want to believe in Jesus. It was more that I didn’t want to close myself into what I thought was a narrow way of thinking.
The doctor had already come in that morning to tell me about the cancer. I got emotional and cried. But I was already prepared by the time Jeff came in. Then Jeff told me that he had received Jesus as his Messiah, and that God told him I was going to be okay. And I felt pretty confident that I would be.
When the crowd asked Jesus one day, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” he answered, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (John 6:28–29). And who is the one God has sent? Yeshua.
We canceled hospice. Dad got better. Five weeks later he was in good health. To me, this was a miracle. Pain and despair brought me to the Messiah.
By my third year of grad school, my life, externally, was great. I had friends and a boyfriend who made a lot of money. I was in great shape, competing in a triathlon. But inside I was miserable. I found myself questioning everything: If life has no meaning, what does it matter if I live another day? And what happens after I die?
I grabbed the New Testament from where I had hid it in the cupboard and opened it. It happened to open to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter one. I was completely overwhelmed when I read the very first sentence: “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
The missionary asked my great-great-grandfather, Hakim, “Did you know that the Messiah you are expecting has already arrived?” and told him that Jesus was the Messiah. Hakim was so upset that he slapped the missionary in the face and threw him out of the synagogue. But that wasn’t the end of the story…
Ceil Rosen, wife of Jews for Jesus founder, Moishe, had a unique Christmas experience, leading her to consider Jesus seriously as the alternative to religious Judaism or atheism.
Following Yeshua will mean going against the flow of the values and priorities of the world. It may cost us relationships with family and friends, our reputations and opportunities. We might encounter suffering, heartache and rejection. But God will never desert us.
I take comfort in Jesus’ words: “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life” (Luke 18:29–30).
As a native New Yorker from Long Island, our Jewish identity and culture were a big part of family life. I went to synagogue, attended Hebrew school, and celebrated the Jewish holidays. Around the age of seven, my best friend Chris (a Gentile) invited me to church with her family – my first exposure to…
He asked if I wanted to pray. I replied, “Sure, where’s the prayer book?” “You don’t need one,” he explained. “Just talk to God from your heart.” I folded my arms across my chest, looked upwards, and said, “God, I don’t know who You are. But I’m tired of doing it by myself, so You have a go.”
Josh Leon lives and works in the Orthodox community. One of the things he enjoys most is plowing through the rabbinic texts and discovering what he believes is more evidence that Jesus fulfilled the messianic expectations of his Jewish people.