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The Righteous Gentiles of Jewish Evangelism

Does it take one Jewish person to lead another to faith in the Jewish Messiah? The answer may surprise you: “Certainly not!” As the number of Jewish believers has increased, it is true that many Jewish people do come to faith in Jesus through the witness of Jewish followers of Messiah. But the fact is that many others are led to Messiah through the witness of faithful  non-Jewish believers who have heeded the call of the Apostle Paul that the Gospel is “to the Jew first” (Romans 1:16).

These are the “Righteous Gentiles of Jewish Evangelism” who have faithfully followed the Lord’s leading to reach out to Jewish people. Doug P., one of Chosen People Ministries’ most experienced and committed evangelists, is such a person. Doug’s heart for the Jewish people shines through his testimony:

Everything in my Faith is Jewish, but Me!

“Everything in my faith is Jewish, but me!” This is a startling statement to most of my Jewish friends, but it is totally true! Most Jewish people are unaware that I, a Gentile, believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I have often said, “If I followed the religion of my forefathers (Gentiles), I would be an idol worshipper, but today I worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!”

I come from a non-religious background, and at age 11 I cried out to God that I wanted to know Him, but that He would have to do this, as I knew that I could not make myself know God. At that moment, I was filled with an awareness of God that I had never known before. I felt that “the whole world should know about this!”

The New Testament, written mainly by Jewish authors, calls it a “spiritual birth” or being “born from above” (John 3:3). Moreover, when I began reading the Hebrew Bible, which was now like a living book to me, I saw that the God of Abraham, Moses and David was the same God who had come into my heart. I realized that the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament complement each other!

One God for Jews and Gentiles

As we read the New Testament, we find statements such as, “They glorified the God of Israel” in response to the healing work of Jesus the Messiah among Jewish people of Galilee (Matthew 15:31). The Jewish writers of the New Testament were unquestionably referring to the God of Israel – never to a “Gentile god!”

The Jewish writers of the New Testament often quoted Scriptures from the Hebrew Bible to validate what they were saying. One of many examples of this is found in Acts 3:18, which says, “But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets [in the Hebrew Scriptures], that the Messiah should suffer, He has thus fulfilled.”

We find another example in the words of Jesus Himself, when He says to His Jewish disciples, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke 24:44).

The initial followers of Jesus were Jewish, and the first Gentiles to believe in Him came some time later. This development was a big surprise to the large body of Jewish believers in Jesus. The same message that Peter had preached to his own Jewish people earlier at Shavuot (Pentecost) was now preached to the Gentiles – “To Him [Jesus] all the prophets [of the Jewish Bible] witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). Peter again appeals to the Hebrew prophets as evidence of Jesus’ Messiahship.

Thus, “everything in my faith is Jewish, but me.” Jesus was Jewish, as were His first followers, and the Bible I read is a Jewish book! Looking back over the years, I can say that this simple declaration about the Jewishness of my faith has always come as a surprise to Jewish people. It has led to many fruitful discussions about the Messiahship of Jesus.

Opportunities Abound

One of the most destructive stereotypes that discourage non-Jewish believers in Jesus from reaching out to their Jewish neighbors is the thought that all Jewish people are unwilling to hear about Jesus. This is simply not true, as shown through the many encounters our staff members – both Jewish and non-Jewish – have with Jewish people who are curious about Jesus and the Gospel.

One of the most effective methods of outreach is a literature table. Doug and his co-workers set up these tables at various places around New York City, such as in parks and on the city’s many college campuses. Doug describes a few of the wonderful encounters that have taken place at his literature tables around the city:

At our Central Park literature table, a young Israeli man, Gabriel,* told one of our staff members that he had been in America for just a short time, but he was planning on remaining here to work in his field of computer technology. After reading with me the first page of the New Testament in Hebrew, which gives the genealogy of Jesus going back to Abraham, he exclaimed, “I can’t understand why the rabbis say that this is a forbidden book to us!” He was surprised at what he had just read-a genealogy just like the kind he had seen in the Hebrew Bible.

Dinah,* an Israeli woman, stopped at another table with an Israeli companion to read the text of Isaiah chapters 52:13 through 53 in Hebrew that was displayed on a sign at the front of our table. Beginning to read this passage, she exclaimed to her friend, “How come I’ve never read this before?” She then asked incredulously, “Is this in our Bible?”

Her friend, seeing the Isaiah title at the top of the passage, replied that it was. Reaching the end of the passage, she declared resolutely: “This is talking about Jesus!” She soon accepted Him as her Messiah! At a Messianic Rosh Hashanah (New Year’s) service a month later, she declared, “I feel like a newly born baby!”

More Information:

Celebrate Messiah knows the value of Righteous Gentiles of Jewish Evangelism – men and women who are called to bring the Gospel to the Jewish people. This is why we have so many short- and long-term mission opportunities for non-Jewish believers to join us in this mission.

If you want to know more about our opportunities to serve with Celebrate Messiah New Zealand, please learn more here or contact us.

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