How to share your faith with a Jewish friend

Avi Mizrachi, Director of Dugit Outreach Centre in Tel Aviv, recently shared some 'words of wisdom' for Christians who want to share their faith with their Jewish friends.

Avi shared that he has met many well meaning Christians who wanted to share Jesus with Jewish people but were surprised and confused when their friends didn't want to hear and wanted nothing more to do with them.  "It’s important to understand the background of the Jewish people," shared Avi, "Whether religious or secular. Jewish people have traditions, culture, history, they are taught the stories in the Bible – know their traditions and where we come from."

Jewish people have a strong sense of identity and for them, Christianity is definitely not Jewish. It is seen as a foreign religion that has nothing to do with them. To consider Jesus, would be to turn away from their Jewish identity and reject their people. This idea is further strengthened by hundreds of years of persecution by the church and so called Christian countries. To become a Christian would be to betray their ancestors that had suffered at the hands of  Christians in the past  In addition to this, their religion teaches about the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - they believe 'the others', the Christians, worship other gods like Jesus and three gods called the trinity. To us, the New Testament is a beautiful book detailing God's love and redemption but many Jewish people have been taught it is an antisemitic book that has fueled the persecution of their people. So, you can see why many Jewish people will not be too impressed when you start talking about Jesus.

"That is why it is important not to start with Jesus automatically," said Avi, "they will put you in a different category." It will immediately create a 'them and us' situation. (Jesus is for the Gentiles and nothing to do with us). Avi advises to think about the words you are using. Christian terms and quotes from the New Testament may make perfect sense to us but will not speak to your Jewish friend. Don't use Christian phrases or Christian theology or doctrines.  They are not relevant to them and will just create barriers. Instead, use language that they can understand. Learn to share the Gospel through a Jewish frame of reference. Use the Hebrew Scriptures (which we often call the Old Testament but of course is their only scripture, not old at all) to show how God's plan for redemption is not a New Testament idea. In fact, God's plan for salvation is very Jewish, spoken about by the Jewish prophets and recorded in the Hebrew scriptures.

Avi Mizrachi sets out 7 Pillars that will help us share the Gospel using only the Old Testament/Hebrew Scriptures:



Pillar One 

God Is A Loving Father Who Loves Us With An Everlasting Love 

“...I have loved you with an everlasting love. With loving kindness, I have drawn you.”  
Jeremiah 31:3 

Start by sharing about the love of God. Avi advises to make it clear that we worship one God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  According to the prophet Jeremiah, he is a loving father who has loved us with an everlasting love i.e. there is no end to his love. With loving kindness he has drawn us. The Hebrew word translated 'loving kindness' is HESED and can also be translated as 'grace'.  It's his grace, his loving kindness, his undeserved favour towards us that draws us.

"This is the first pillar." continued Avi, "We need to share that we worship a loving Father who is full of mercy and grace. He loves us with no end, no conditions. This is a very important issue to communicate to the Jewish people - about a loving God who loves them. This is the first thing you need to communicate. "




Pillar Two

God is a Holy God

“...Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 
Isaiah 6:3

"This is the second thing to share with Jewish people," continued Avi, "God is a Holy God. He is a loving father but also he is holy, he is a jealous God. When we approach him, we must understand that we are approaching a holy God. We all need this attitude when we approach him. The prophet Isaiah said, 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts' - in Hebrew, 'KADOSH, KADOSH, KADOSH'."

Watch Avi sharing about Pillar 2



Pillar Three

Man Is Not Perfect

“Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.” 
Ecclesiastes 7:20

The Hebrew word for righteous is TZADIK. There is no one on earth who is perfect, who never sins, even the best person you can think of, the greatest Rabbi. As much as we try to do good, we will never be perfect. Ecclesiastes tells us there is no one who never sins.

Watch Avi sharing about Pillar 3



Pillar Four

It's Our Sin That Separates Us From God.  

“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” 
Isaiah 59:1-2

This verse from the book of Isaiah clearly shows that it is our own sins that have separated us from a holy God. God is a loving Father but he is also holy. No matter how hard we try, we can never be perfect - without sin. It is our sin that separates us from God. This is a problem, but there is a solution, and this leads us on to the next pillar.

Watch Avi sharing about Pillar 4



Pillar Five

Atonement.  

For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar. It is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” 
Leviticus 17:11 

Throughout the history of the people of Israel, as they traveled through the wilderness, the Tabernacle was at the centre of everything. Animal sacrifices were brought to the Tabernacle and the blood of the sacrifices made atonement for their sins. Later on, when King Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem, the sacrifices continued. The same rule applied. The people would bring the sacrifices up to the Temple and the blood of the lamb, the blood of the sacrifice, made atonement for their sin. The Hebrew word for atonement is KAPARA. "When we come to God," said Avi, "when we repent, we bring the sacrifices and we apply the blood – we have atonement and our sins are forgiven. But now
we don’t have a temple, we don’t have sacrifices why? Because before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70AD, God promised he would send someone and he would take the iniquities of us all and place them on him. And that leads us to the next Pillar..."

Watch Avi sharing about Pillar 5
link here



Pillar Six

God Will Send A Messiah 

“We like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; ad the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before his shearers is silent. So he did not open his mouth.” 
Isaiah 52:6-7

Next, is God's promise that he will send a Messiah. The whole of Isaiah chapter 53 is an amazing chapter to share with your Jewish friend. But for Pillar 6 we will especially look at verses 6-7. Ask the question, shares Avi, "Who is this guy? It is clear from Isaiah 53 that God would send a lamb who would take our sins on himself. He will pay the price for our wrongdoings. He will make atonement for our sins. There is only one person who fulfilled that scripture and his name in Hebrew is Yeshua."

Watch Avi sharing about Pillar 6



Pillar Seven

A New Covenant with the House of Israel

““The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.” 
Jeremiah 31:31

The Hebrew prophet Jeremiah said that God promised that one day he would make a new covenant with Israel. The word covenant in Hebrew is BRIT. (In English it can be translated as covenant or testament e.g. The New Testament could equally be translated as New Covenant).

Chapter 31 continues... " It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,”declares the Lord. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (31:32-34)

“Here we see very clearly, that God says, one day I will make a new covenant... in their hearts and how will I do that?" shared Avi, " He is going to forgive our sin and we will know him. This can be fulfilled only when we apply the atonement and who is the atonement? Yeshua the Messiah."

"God promised he would send the Messiah and he would take the iniquites of us all and put it upon him (Isaiah 53). He would go as a lamb to the slaughter and he did. He gave his life for us, he paid the price – he paid the price for our sins – atonement (kapara). He died, and then on the third day, he rose from the dead and he is alive. And through this, he established a new covenant with the people of Israel but not only with the people of Israel, to all the people of the earth who have decided to forsake pagan gods and worship the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And they have come to know the God of Israel through the atonement of the Messiah, Yehsua."

Watch Avi sharing about Pillar 7
https://www.facebook.com/DugitOutreach/videos/1392972117454322/


“So, how do we present the Gospel to Jewish people?" asks Avi, "Very simple, we don’t use words we use in our [Christian] culture ‘church’, ‘conversion’, ‘trinity’ [even 'Jesus' - use the Hebrew way to say his name: Yeshua] all these things that we are used to in our culture and our denominations but we must understand the Jewish mindset and background."  Share the Gospel using the Hebrew Sriptures (Old Testament) and understand the Jewish reaction to certain 'Christian words. Use words that build bridges not barriers.

The 7 Pillars

Pillar 1: God is a Loving Father - He Loves You With An Everlasting Love (Jeremiah 31:3)
Pillar 2: God is Holy (Isaiah 6:3)
Pillar 3: Man is Not Perfect - Not Without Sin (Ecclesiastes 7:20)
Pillar 4: Our Sin Separates Us From a Holy God (Isaiah 59:1-2)
Pillar 5: Atonement (Leviticus 17:11)
Pillar 6: God Will Send A Messiah (Isaiah 52:6-7)
Pillar 7: God Will Male A New Covenant With Israel (Jeremiah 31:31)


FOR FURTHER READING:

https://jewsforjesus.org/jewish-resources/learn/witnessing-tools/pointers-on-witnessing-to-jews/

https://www.oneforisrael.org/bible-based-teaching-from-israel/sharing-the-gospel-with-jewish-friends/

https://www.chosenpeople.com/site/presenting-messiah-to-your-jewish-friend/