There are a number of reasons why Jewish evangelism is so important. First of all, it is biblical. The Apostle Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe, to the Jew first and also to the gentiles.” This verse needs unpacking because it can be easily misunderstood. Some might say, “Are you implying that Paul meant all the Jewish people needed to believe first, and then we could start bringing it to the gentiles?” Not so. I think what Paul meant is found in the meaning of the Greek term proton. Proton means “first by way of priority.”
If you look at Matthew 6:33, Jesus gives a rabbinical analogy using word play. “Seeking first the kingdom” does not mean the other things in life are unimportant. You still seek what you want in life, but you put God first. We are to always seek the kingdom as the priority. This is very similar to what I believe the Apostle Paul meant. We should never stop seeking to reach the Jewish people first.
So, Jewish evangelism is a priority for the Christian church. As the kingdom of God is a priority for all believers in Jesus, so is reaching Jewish people with the Gospel.
There is another aspect to this great biblical truth.
What is the context inspiring Romans 1:16? The answer is found in Romans 11, where the Apostle Paul speaks about the second coming of Jesus. It is described as life from the dead. In that day, Paul writes, “all of Israel will be saved.” There is an inextricable link between the second coming of Jesus and the salvation of the remnant of Israel.
So, if you ask, “when will Jesus return?” I only know how it is going to happen—not when. It is going to happen in the end of days when the Jewish people look unto him whom they have pierced. It is when they trust in Jesus as their Messiah.
Remember Jesus’ statement in Matthew 23:37-39? Jesus is weeping over Jerusalem. At the end of His reflection, Jesus says, “O Jerusalem, O Jerusalem. How I wanted to gather you like a hen gathers her chicks.” You see, the Lord loves the Jewish people. He wants to fulfill His promises and protect the Jewish people and gather them in His embrace. Jesus explains He could not gather them because the Jewish people kept rejecting the prophets that foretold Him as their Messiah. He then goes on to prophecy the destruction of the Temple and says He will not be seen again until they proclaim, “Baruch haba b’shem Adonai” (literally, “blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”).
There is also a promise of hope. The day will come when the Jewish people will call out to Jesus as their Messiah. This is similar to the tradition at a Jewish wedding, when a rabbi calls out to the bridegroom, “Baruch haba b’shem Adonai!” The day is coming when the Jewish people will receive their true bridegroom—Jesus the Messiah. In scripture, the Lord has linked the second coming of Jesus with the salvation of Israel. The Apostle Paul had this understanding when he wrote Romans 1:16. And we need to have this understanding as well.
My hope is that Jewish evangelism will always be a priority in your life, just like the kingdom of God.