Messianics 101: Approaching Jews about Jesus

First rule: don’t use the name “Jesus”- use “Yeshua.” The name “Jesus” brings up too many unwelcome memories to Jews, such as “Christ killer”. I grew up being called that by all the Catholic school kids. In the past decade or so Catholicism has “lightened up” on us Jews, but there is too much history to make a Jew comfortable with the name Jesus. And there are still many modern-day Christians who push Replacement Theology, which is an insult to God as much as it is to Jews. Even after understanding the truth of who Jesus is, knowing the Jewish Messiah Yeshua for nearly 20 years now, I am still uncomfortable with “Jesus.” And don’t even start me on the word “Christ!”

Second Rule: don’t quote from the New Covenant writings. Jews don’t believe it is Scripture, they have been told that Jesus created a new religion (that hates Jews) and the New Covenant is what He wrote (not true, of course, but that doesn’t really even matter.) You need to be totally familiar with the Messianic passages in the Tanakh. You also need to know more about the Tanakh than the Jewish person you are talking to, or at least enough to impress them that you have some knowledge of, and respect for, Judaism. The fact is, if you don’t know the Old Covenant and the Messianic scriptures that define who Yeshua is and what He will do, then you shouldn’t minister to anyone because you aren’t fully prepared. Counting on the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) is fine and useful and biblically sound, but you still need to know enough to talk to a Jew like a Jew if you want to get through to a Jew. Nu?

Third Rule: Don’t tell, ask. Believe me, when you start to talk to a Jew about Yeshua, and you talk about Isaiah 53, and Jeremiah 31:31 and Joel, and Zachariah, and all the other 144 or so Messianic passages in the Tanakh (and you should know what “Tanakh” means) you can tell a Jewish person all there is and when you think you’ve sold them, they’ll simply say they don’t believe Jesus is the Messiah, “Because He isn’t, that’s all!”  That’s what they have been taught for centuries; in fact, for more than two 2 millenniums. The best way (take it from an old “sales” pro) to make someone accept what you say against what they have been told is not to tell them why something is so. You start out by making them doubt what they think is the truth as maybe not really being all that true. “And how”, you may ask, “do I do that?” The answer is: you don’t tell, you ask.  Instead of telling them all the reasons you know why Yeshua (remember: we don’t use the “j-word”) is the Messiah, ask them why they think Yeshua is not the Messiah. I can almost guarantee that 99.9% of the time, the answer will be, “Because He’s not, that’s why.” And they answer that way because that is what they have been told is the truth by parents, by their Zayda and Bubbe, by their Rabbi, by everyone they know who is Jewish. He just isn’t, that’s all there is to it. Once you get to that point, you can then ask these questions, in this order:

  1. Do you think that recognizing the Messiah when He comes, no matter who he is, is important? (if they say no, don’t waste any more time on this one)

  2. When you have to make an important decision, do you feel better doing it with good information or by just blindly guessing? (again, if they say guessing is fine, move on)

  3. (If you make it to this question, here’s what you say next) Well, then I’m confused: You say you want good information yet you have nothing but, “Just because.” You are choosing your eternal future on no information instead of listening to good information. (Don’t pause to let them speak but go right into the kicker)…If I told you there are hundreds of thousands of Jewish people who have accepted Yeshua as their Messiah and are still 100% Jewish, practicing Judaism exactly as you do, holy days, Shabbat, Torah, everything exactly as you have been brought up doing, would you be interested in hearing  just a little more about Messianic Judaism?

These are the essential three steps to ministering to Jews. If the answer to that last question is, “Yes”, then you have planted a seed. Now you have to let it grow, at it’s own pace. Now you can tell them more about the Tanakh passages and, since they doubt what they knew to be true (which is, essentially, you can’t believe in Jesus and still be Jewish) and are open to the real truth, you can take the Tanakh passage and relate it directly to the New Covenant passage. And remember, also (this is VERY important) to point out that the New Covenant is NOT a new religion, Yeshua never taught against the Torah or Judaism, and that the New Covenant is the eye-witness account about a Jew, written by Jews, of what happened to Jews. That is also the description of the Old Covenant, isn’t it? Eye-witness account written by Jews of what happened to Jews.

If you can master these questions, and deliver them with the compassionate understanding that for thousands of years Jewish people have been told believing in Jesus is being a traitor to your family and to God, then you have a good chance of helping Jews to find and know their own Messiah.

If you “bible-pound” Jewish people with threats of hell and eternal damnation and quote from the New Covenant, you might as well “kick against the goads” and not even waste your breath. Being a Jew I can tell you this: Jews will not be able to accept the truth about who and what Yeshua is until they can get past all that they have been told He isn’t.

Here is an absolute truth: people believe only half of what you tell them, but 100% of what they say. You need to get them to doubt what they believe before you have a chance of them listening to what you have to tell them.

Comments

  1. Steven R. Bruck
    The Real Messianic April 4, 2016 at 13:53

    Can you please answer those two questions?

    Do you think that recognizing the messiah when He comes, no matter who he is, is important?

    When you have to make an important decision, do you feel better doing it with good information or by just blindly believing the New Testament?

    • Steven R. Bruck
      Steven R. Bruck April 4, 2016 at 14:47

      Come come, I never said “blindly believing the Old Testament or the New Testament- I was speaking generally about just blindly guessing. Making a decision without having information is, by definition, guessing.
      I believe Yeshua is the Messiah because I have read in the Tanakh what the Messiah is supposed to do and accept, faithfully, that the eye witnessed accounts of what Yeshua did are true. If I can accept the Old Covenant accounts as true on faith (and using a lot of extra-biblical historical references that are also shown to be archaeologically accurate, as well) I can do the same for the New. Both have extra-biblical proof, or at best to be fair, extra-biblical evidence to support enough of what is written to make it less than blind guessing about the truth of the events.
      Another reason I believe is because all during my youth going to synagogue gave me nothing, spiritually, inside. When I accepted Yeshua and went to messianic services, even though I am not big on the worship part, I felt the presence of God. I felt the Ruach enter me when I prayed for it (it took three months before that happened) and I have had many instances of a real feeling, not a sense, but a definite feeling of His spirit, His guidance and I have seen in the real world the actual events that represent His answers to my prayers. My faith was, initially, just faith without seeing or understanding. Now it is faith based on feeling, on seeing (His effect and influence on my life) and on understanding, a divine (if you will) understanding of His word which I hope is evident in the blog and my book. That divine understanding comes from the Ruach HaKodesh living in me.
      So, nu? Did I answer you? You don’t have to agree with me about who Yeshua is. But you can’t tell me I am wrong- these are my experiences and my personal feelings and my interactions with God. If you haven’t had these then you don’t have what I do to make you believe, and you haven’t experienced what I have to help you accept. I read your background and it sounds like you did believe then decided for yourself not to. If that is a correct interpretation, the good news is you still have time to change your mind and I pray to God (not to Yeshua, but to God calling on Yeshua’s name) He gives you the same absolute proof, an absolute proof that you feel is absolute- no one else’s reasons matter- of His existence and His Messiah.

      • Steven R. Bruck
        The Real Messianic April 4, 2016 at 15:00

        Unless Yeshua is clearly shown in the Hebrew Bible, I will have to reject Yeshua as a false god/messiah. This is my duty to HaShem, I am sure that that Baal worshipers felt good and had a lot of those feeling. Look at the Charismatic movement, it’s full of the feeling part… If that’s all you got, I am sorry, and that only confirm that Yeshua is not the true messiah… But if you have scriptural proofs, then we can talk further…

        • Steven R. Bruck
          Steven R. Bruck April 4, 2016 at 16:55

          As I said, I feel that there is scriptural proof, but one man’s proof is another man’s foolishness. As it says in the Tanakh, they have eyes to see with and ears to hear with, but they do not see and they do not hear (I am paraphrasing) so they cannot be healed.
          I take umbrage at you comparing my belief in Yeshua with Baal worship- that is just plain nasty and disrespectful. You can tell me, “Many people who believe in something may have good feelings, but that isn’t proof for me”; that is a statement that is truthful, effective and not insulting. Comparing me with a Baal worshiper will not get you any points, my friend, nor will calling Yeshua a false God or a false Messiah help get anyone to listen to you. Again, it is a demeaning statement. All you need say is that you don’t believe as I do, without name-calling.
          I can sense in your statements that you are not just unwilling to accept what I believe for yourself, but that you are actually angry at Yeshua, at everyone who accepts Him for their Messiah, and at the whole idea of Yeshua being the Messiah. As you must have learned in your past, Yeshua said that before telling your brother about the splinter in his eye, remove the log from your own. I say this with compassion and respect, I think until you can get past your anger you won’t be able to accept anyone as a Messiah.

          • Steven R. Bruck
            The Real Messianic April 4, 2016 at 17:19

            First, I did not compared you with baal worshiper. I am saying that your feeling and emotions are just not enough to declare Yeshua as the Messiah. That’s quite different. The worshipers of Baal thought he was the true G-d, and they thought he was going to save them in battle. Did that make it so? No. Feeling good or thinking you have the holy spirit that convince you is just plain not enough. I talked with Mormons and they asked me to pray over their Book and they told me that the Holy Spirit revealed it was inspired. This is the same kind of arguments you have. If you have proofs that Yeshua is G-d, then please show them to me… I am not angry, but I am looking for a honest talk, that’s all….

          • Steven R. Bruck
            Steven R. Bruck April 4, 2016 at 17:59

            If you are not angry then I apologize, but ya could have fooled me! 🙂
            You want proof that Yeshua is the Messiah? Heck, it’s not just you but a lot of other people, too. All I can say is: good luck with that. I cannot give you proof; in fact, I believe proof is the antithesis of faith. God proved who He was on Mt. Sinai, but the people disregarded that less than 2 months later. God proved He was God in 1 Kings 18 when Ba’al never even showed for the party but when Elijah called for fire from heaven, it immediately came down. All the people said , “God- He is God!” but they forgot about that proof as soon as Jezebel went on the warpath. Plenty of proof about God in the Tanakh, but still the 10 tribes apostatized and even Judah (which had pretty much absorbed Benjamin by then) eventually went that way, too. Yeshua Himself said it was a wicked and evil generation that asked for a sign. Still, He did end up giving them gave them one, anyway, but did they believe?
            Proof? Can’t be done, won’t be done- God wants faith, not lab reports. Abraham wasn’t accounted righteousness because he had proof.
            My friend, thank you for following this blog. I hope you continue to follow but I will never be able to prove Yeshua is the Messiah. I do, however, pray that God will demonstrate about Yeshua to you in a way you can accept. As for what I believe, I believe either one chooses to accept on faith, or one asks for proof. I know, absolutely from the Tanakh, that proof will be presented about who is the Messiah, and from the Messiah Himself, and when it does it will be too late for anyone to change their mind.

          • Steven R. Bruck
            The Real Messianic April 4, 2016 at 18:03

            First, in the Hebrew Bible, who ask for signs, and who does not? Gideon asked for a sign, Ahab did not… Evil generation? I think it’s the other way round… It’s OK to doubt and it’s better to refrain if no certain. You better get it right, if not, you are worshipping someone who is not god at all… G-d knows your heart though, and let’s all hope for the best.

            “Still, He did end up giving them gave them one, anyway, but did they believe?”
            No he did not… Did they saw him after the grave? Yeshua told them he was going to give them a sign, but he did not show that sign to them… What kind of sign is that?

          • Steven R. Bruck
            Steven R. Bruck April 5, 2016 at 06:58

            The evil generation I referenced was not referring to anyone in the Old Covenant- if you want to make an argument please stay on topic. Anyone can confuse the issue by jumping back and forth- I was in the New Covenant, talking about Yeshua telling the Pharisees who required a sign even after they had seen all the miracles, not Ahab or Gideon- to discuss a statement we need to stay in context with that statement or you lose your credibility.
            And, yes- there definitely was a sign, it’s called resurrection. It wasn’t given then and there but it was given. For those that have eyes to see and ears to hear means, simply, those that want to accept or those that won’t. It is clear that you do not want to accept, so I appreciate your comments but as strongly as you do not accept what I say, I do not accept your belief that Yeshua is not Messiah. Let’s just say we agree to disagree, and pray for each other that we each learn the truth, whatever it is, before we meet HaShem. OK?

  2. Steven R. Bruck
    The Real Messianic April 4, 2016 at 13:46

    Why you think Yeshua (I won’t use the J-word) is the messiah? Maybe you’ll find out he is not…

Comments welcomed (just be nice)