Note: This is Part One of a two-part series.
In this article, I will look to address a number of issues that will help Christians improve their witness of the gospel to their Jewish friends. Recently I taught on this very same subject at one of our Messiah's House meetings; the link is at the end of the article. I hope and pray that you will find them both empowering to your own personal witness to your Jewish friends.
We Must Present Them a Jewish Gospel
There are definitely things we can do or say that can make a difference when sharing our faith with Jewish people; and there are some fundamental issues that can dramatically change the way we help The Holy Spirit to introduce Yeshua/Jesus to them. Two such issues are: gaining a better understanding of the barriers that currently exist and learning how to bring a Jewish gospel back to our Jewish friends.
To help reflect on these issues, let us take a look at the olive tree example that the apostle Paul used to delineate between Jews and Gentiles (see Rom.11:17-24). Let us also try to understand the context of current Christianity, the Gentile branches of the vine, which for the past 1700 years has presented themselves distinctive and apart from its Jewish origins and Apostolic Hebraic roots. While this may have been acceptable towards the nations during the time of the Gentiles, as the kingdom now transitions in these end days to re-include the Israel part of the family (see Rom.11:25-26), we must be willing to make adjustments.
Please do not be offended by this and allow me to explain, so you understand my point here. For I am not criticizing the way in which the gospel is presented to the Gentile world, but rather focusing on how it should be presented back to Israel. Let me explain: Is not the vine that all Gentile believers are grafted into of Jewish origins? And was not the Jewish branch a natural one, even though it is mainly still broken off due to unbelief? In fact is not everything we have received of Jewish origins? (See Rom. 11).
"Who are Israelites, to whom belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises, to whom belong the patriarchs, and from whom, according to the flesh, is Christ, who is over all, God forever blessed. Amen" (Rom. 9:4-5).
When we first believe in Mashiach/Christ, are we not grafted into all of Israel's covenants and promises and is not salvation from the Jews, as Yeshua/Jesus stated? (see John 4:22) So how can we expect to win Jews back to faith and make them envious when the Gospel we are presenting back to them is so foreign from their own heritage? For since the church broke away from its Jewish origins, Jewish people now think of Christianity as a completely separate religion, when in fact it is the only true and proper extension of Judaism, especially if we believe Yeshua/Jesus to be the Jewish Messiah.
So when we present the good news to Jewish people, if we do not reconnect the dots and present it back to them as if it was their very own in the first place, we can completely miss the mark. If we want to be fully effective in reaching our Jewish brethren who we know from Scripture are still yet to be restored, we must remind ourselves of our humble beginnings and how we have been grafted into the vine in the first place. "For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?" (Rom. 11:24).
It is indeed our own personal relationship with their God, who is now also our God that will ultimately make them envious, because we are living in their covenant, having intimacy with their God when most of them are still broken off (See Rom. 11). But when it is not presented to them as a Jewish faith it misses its effectiveness in helping them to be grafted back into their own olive tree—are you following me here? If we were still moving in the Gospel of the first century it would be different, because the founding apostles were all Jewish and so naturally they had an innate sense of how to bring the good news to their own people, but when the church moved away from its Jewish roots, it lost this connection and ability.
This could be best seen through the Christian girl who led me to faith who never used Christian terms or symbols, but instead presented Yeshua/Jesus to me as if He was my very own; reconnecting her faith in Mashiach/Christ as a Jewish concept. This naturally made my transition much easier when that perfect day arrived for me; despite my bloodline resistance to faith, because of the inherent barriers of persecution, which I have explained below. You can read more about this story in my first book, The New Covenant Prophecy.
Maria never quoted the New Testament Scriptures, which she knew I could not receive at the time, but instead used the Hebrew Scriptures as her source, while using New Testament terms through her own speech. She always referred to God as the God of Israel and she was so incredibly grateful towards my people for giving her Christ, who she said was Jewish and always referred to Him as the Messiah. She also told me about all of the Jewish disciples and that in fact Christianity was Jewish and that as a result of Mashiach/Christ, she now inherited all of the promises and covenants of Israel that were given to my people first (Jer. 31:31-34). She also mentioned that the New Testament was written by Jewish believers, excepting Luke, and that they moved with the Holy Spirit to build the Church who led them to open up the Gentile world to Yeshua/Jesus.
This made a huge difference to me in how I processed Yeshua, as He was presented back to me in a Jewish manner. When I began to further contemplate the acceptance of Mashiach into my life, Maria had already re-established this Jewish connection for me and laid out a bridge that I could think about crossing, which made my final journey that much easier to enter into, instead of contemplating a separate religion that had been used against my people. Are you catching me here?
In light of the time that we are now living in, as we have entered this transition between Jew and Gentile, like the apostles who readily embraced their new Gentile family, we must be willing to make adjustments and come into agreement with the Holy Spirit's work to reconnect us, so Israel can come forth. Just like the Jewish believers who clung to the law and wouldn't let go as the Holy Spirit began to move on the Gentile world and awaken them, we cannot expect Jews to become like Gentiles when receiving the Gospel and we must bless them into their own heritage and calling, which is distinct from our own. For from within the one new man and the oneness of the Spirit, we both have unique roles and callings to fulfill, especially in the final days before Messiah is to return. For within God's end time mercy plan, Israel cannot come forth without the church, and the church cannot come into its inheritance without Israel's redemption. Thus the family of God must finally unite and become one! This is God's plan for us for these days.
Grant Berry is a Jewish believer in Yeshua/Jesus and author of The New Covenant Prophecy and The Ezekiel Generation. He founded Reconnecting Ministries with the specific focus to help the church reconnect spiritually to Israel and considers it vital to the kingdom of G-d in the last days. His message focuses on the unity, love and healing that the Father wants to bring between Jew and Gentile, yet clearly points out the differences and misunderstandings between the two groups. Now is the time to look more carefully into this mystery to make way for healing and reconnection in the Spirit. For more information, please visit reconnectingministries.org.
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