Rejoicing in the Harvest
One of my joys when traveling is to meet those whom I have talked to by phone, but haven’t met yet. I have been talking to a Jewish man for quite a while and we’ve had a couple of good talks over the phone. Jason* is married to a Christian woman who has been praying for him for many years. When we finally met, he shared with me that he and his wife went to Israel and he was baptized in the Jordan River. I asked him why he did this. He told me because he believed and it was a perfect time to make the decision for Yeshua. Please pray for Jason! We really connected and he wants to study the Scriptures with me from a Jewish perspective.
As you may know, Passover season is often a busy time for our staff. They are usually traveling presenting Messiah in the Passover at churches around the country. It is a wonderful opportunity for these churches to host unbelieving Jewish people invited by their congregants. At these presentations Jewish people, often for the first time, hear the Gospel presented in a Jewish context. Read one such story from, Vladimir Pikman:
This Passover season we had a number of rather spontaneous Passover dinners and presentations close to where we live. The events were relatively small—not more than 200 people in attendance—but outstanding evangelistic opportunities. We had Jewish people, primarily invited by their Christian friends, in attendance for every one of them! God was touching the hearts of the people.
A couple of Jewish ladies came to a Messiah in the Passover presentation. Originally from New York, they are currently living in Dallas. They were sitting in the very first row. When I was explaining Yeshua in the afikoman and the third cup, one of them started crying and could not stop until the end of the presentation. God was at work! Afterwards she came to me saying, “Tonight I understood that Jesus is my Messiah!” Praise the Lord! What a joy!
Often Jewish people will face opposition from family and friends who do not yet know the Messiah. Because of misconceptions about Jesus and Christianity, friends and family are genuinely worried. But even this can be a witness of God’s power in a new believer’s life. See this story below from Cathy Wilson who serves in the Phoenix, Arizona area:
Sweet Carol,* our 96-year-old Jewish believer friend, has been confronted by the Jewish people at her retirement center to abandon her new faith and to engage in a conversation with a rabbi. Why? The thinking on the part of the Jewish community without Jesus is if a Jewish person is “brainwashed” into thinking that Jesus is the Messiah, a rabbi could certainly talk a Jewish person out of such foolishness. Carol did speak with an Orthodox rabbi. She reported on their conversation and said, “I didn’t understand anything the rabbi said. He didn’t answer my questions. I understand Cathy clearly.” Praise God that when we are born again, we are kept by the power of God through faith (1 Peter 1:5)!
We often don’t know what the Holy Spirit will use to draw Jewish people to accepting the Messiah. Sometimes it is a Passover presentation, other times it is a life-long friendship and witness. Occasionally, it is an invitation to a Bible study by a trusted friend.
Take this story from Ron and Paula Michaelson, for example:
A simple invitation to a Bible study can have lasting consequences.
A Jewish man named Robert,* who lives in our community, was invited by a friend to our Messianic Bible study on Jeremiah.
I learned that this man had once also lived on a kibbutz in Israel. At first he referred to himself as a secular Jew, not having attended a synagogue. Each week he came early to the study so we could talk. Soon he began to attend our congregation. He said that it was because it was so friendly. The fact that Paula and I are Messianic Jews, attending this congregation, added to his feeling at ease about his Jewishness. He saw for himself that you could believe in Yeshua (Jesus) and still be Jewish.
Last Sunday Paula and I were thrilled to see him in line to receive the Lord’s Supper. Kneeling at the communion rail, our pastor paused when he came to Robert. He knew the background of this man, and asked, “Do you believe Jesus died for the forgiveness of your sins?”
“I do,” Robert answered, and received communion for the first time.
Our dedicated Israeli worker, Maxim, shared a story from a recent children’s camp that Chosen People Ministries runs. This Sukkot they were able to serve 50 kids from around the country. The kids learned about God’s protection and faithfulness and about how God has given us armor against hostile attacks (Eph. 6:12-19). Every day they discovered new truths about God and the Messiah and many walked away with a solid understanding of what it means to live for God.
The kids also enjoyed games and kayaking on the Jordan River. The last day at camp the kids had the opportunity to pray and ask Yeshua to be their Lord and Savior, and many did! Please continue to pray for each of these children, for their decisions to remain steadfast and for their faith to grow as they continue their new walk with the Lord.