One of the hardest things for a Jewish person to do, especially one who practices the religion (they say practice makes perfect but after a lifetime of practicing we still don’t get it right), is to accept that Jesus is the Messiah. In fact, you can barely even get anyone who is Jewish to talk with you about Him.
Maybe there’s a good reason, or even a few good reasons: the persecution that started after Rome accepted (what had become) Christianity, separated now from it’s Jewish roots and forcing Jewish people to convert or die, then there’s the Crusades (nearly as many Jews were forced to convert or be killed as Muslims were), the Inquisition, the Holocaust (the Nazi’s, believe it or not, had the saying “Gott mit uns” [God is with us] on their belt buckles)…just to name a few. All of these historical atrocities were perpetrated by “Christians” trying to get Jews to give up the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and convert to Christianity so they could worship Jesus.
I know, I know…Christians worship God. Well, sit down and hear this word: Christianity teaches idolatry. Many Christians will pray to Jesus instead of praying to God (Jesus is supposed to intercede for our prayers, not intercept them), and the Replacement Theologists say that Jews have been rejected by God because they rejected Jesus. The “Born Again” crowd often tells us that the Old Covenant is no longer valid, and I have personally heard from people who tried to be more Torah observant but their fellow Christians scolded them, accusing them of now being “under the law” instead of being “under the blood.” And just walk into any Roman Catholic church and count the graven images people bow down and pray to. To a Jewish person, all Gentile religions are “Christianity.”
If a Gentile in the 1st Century wanted to accept Yeshua as his or her Messiah, they would start to live as Yeshua did, which meant observing Torah; in other words, 1st century Gentiles (who were all Pagans) who accepted Yeshua were becoming Jewish. Nowadays, if a Torah observant Jewish person wants to accept Yeshua as his or her Messiah, they are told they can no longer be Jewish and have to become Christian, worship in a church and forget all that “Jewish” stuff. They are told, essentially, that they have to stop being a Jew to believe in the Jewish Messiah.
How stupid is that? And some people wonder why it is so hard for Jews to even listen to the truth about Messiah Yeshua!
If I hadn’t discovered Messianic Judaism, I don’t think I would have remained saved. If I had to stop being a Jew (and remember- I was not even a ‘practicing’ Jew) in order to accept Yeshua as my Messiah, I don’t think I would have lasted. Praise God that He directed me to mature Christians and a Messianic Synagogue. And a real Jewish Rabbi to show me how to be a Jewish Believer.
Jewish people have been the subject of persecution and hatred pretty much since the days of Goshen, even before they left Egypt. We’re almost used to it, although that doesn’t mean we like it. It’s easier to accept such treatment when you think you’re on the winning side, although it is a shame that many, actually most, Jews don’t realize that that isn’t going to happen without first accepting Yeshua, their true Messiah, for themselves.
That’s why it is so important to help Jewish people know the truth, and consequently so hard to get them to accept it. History is against us because history proves that accepting Jesus means giving up being Jewish. Although that is not the truth, and shouldn’t be the truth, it is a fact.
If you want to approach a Jewish person with the truth of their Messiah, let me make a few suggestions:
1. Never use the name Jesus- His name is, was and always will be Yeshua, so use that name;
2. If you, yourself, do not believe that the Torah is valid and all who accept Yeshua should live a Torah observant life, then don’t ever talk to a Jew about Yeshua. And get your head into the game- Yeshua IS the living Torah and anyone who thinks Torah is dead might as well say Yeshua is dead;
3. Understand and emphasize with thousands of years of history which has shown for a Jew to believe in Yeshua means converting to a different religion and no longer being Jewish. You need to show that believing in Yeshua means they can stay Jewish, and is the most “Jewish’ thing they can do;
4. Introduce them to a Messianic Synagogue instead of a church- they will feel much more comfortable;
5. If you aren’t fully familiar with the Old Covenant writings, especially the predictions about the Messiah, then don’t ever talk to a Jew about Yeshua. Jews do NOT accept that the New Covenant is scripture. In fact, they give it as much credibility as they give to the Quran or the Bhagavad Gita. You won’t get anywhere quoting the New Covenant as proof that Yeshua is the Messiah. You need to use Tanakh, and only Tanakh;
6. Once you have proven you know about Judaism, that you respect their Jewish heritage and do not want to take that away, then you might be able to talk to them about the B’rit Chadasha. And call it that- use all the Hebraic terminology you know so that everything you talk about “sounds” Jewish. To talk to a Jew about Messiah, you need to talk about His Jewishness, the Torah He taught, and that He did not create a new religion;
7. Last and most important: You cannot convince someone to listen to you by telling them they are wrong. If you want to start to get the interest of a Jewish person, you start by asking them questions why they believe what they believe. Don’t try to force your beliefs down their throat- simply ask them why they believe. Most people, Jewish or Gentile, who believe something probably do so because someone told them that’s what to believe. Most people are too lazy or unconcerned to study and try to determine the truth of something for themselves. So, if you want to get a Jewish person (or anyone, for that matter) to believe in what you have to say, you first have to get them to doubt what they already know. You do that by asking questions, as simple as , ” I know the reasons why I believe Yeshua is the Messiah God promised, please tell me why you don’t?” Most likely it will be somewhere between “That’s what I’ve always been taught” to “Because He isn’t, that’s all.”
Jewish people have good reasons for not even wanting to hear about this guy Jesus. It is our responsibility to be understanding, patient and deliver a very “soft” sell when talking about Messiah Yeshua to them. They need to hear it, and Yeshua Himself said in Mattitayu 23:39 that He will not return until Jerusalem (i.e., the Jewish people) say “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”, so it is really important for Jewish people to learn about and accept their own Messiah, Yeshua.
It will take a lot of courage to talk to a Jewish person about Yeshua. But that’s what we need to do. Just follow the rules above and you will be OK. Remember: we can only plant the seeds, God is the one who makes them grow. So have good seed to spread around, and throw it everywhere.
The good soil is out there, you never know where, so disperse the seed of truth and salvation everywhere you go, to everyone, in the way they can receive it.