Evangelism in Israel has its peculiar challenges. In this blog, I will share five of them and the possible way out.
Challenges of Jewish Evangelism Ministries
1. Messianic Jews Have Always Been the Minority
For the past few generations, Jews who believe in Yeshua have always been in the minority. And like most of us born in Israel, we are raised believing that Christianity is false.
Paul was a prime example of that (Galatians 1:13-14). He was zealous to preserve the traditions of his fathers. Today, people ask me, “If Yeshua is truly the Messiah, why don’t many Jews believe in Him?”
They’ve forgotten that the truth is never determined by who believes or who does not. Let me give you an example of this in the Scripture. When Moses sent spies into Canaan, only Caleb and Joshua believed Israel could conquer the land (Numbers 13:1-33). Others thought God wasn’t able to fulfill His promise. T he crowd’s opinion doesn’t always reflect the truth!
One thing we can do in this case is to ask people what their personal conviction is about the Messiah. I’ve found out that many unbelieving Israelis have only accepted hearsay. In these instances, you have a good chance of winning their heart to faith in Yeshua if you show them enough facts.
2. Wrong Interpretation of the Scriptures by Jewish Scholars
Wrong interpretations of the Messianic prophecies has always been a problem in Israel. During Yeshua’s ministry and the early days of the church, the Pharisees were the greatest antagonists of the faith. They had a wrong interpretation of Scripture. This is why Yeshua warned His disciples to beware their doctrine (Matthew 16:6-12).
In a similar manner today, there are different biased teachings about the Messianic prophecies. Sadly, many Jewish people find it convenient to believe the rabbis rather than study the scriptures themselves.
It seems difficult for the people to accept that Jewish scholars are not custodians of the truth. Like everyone else, they too can be wrong. This is not to dishonor them, but their opinions can be subject to biased sentiments.
For this challenge, we need to inspire people to search the scriptures themselves and not just believe what another person says. Our ministry and other creative media ministries are doing our best to make this easy for believers. Our upcoming project – the WOW!BIBLE is a classic example of our relentless effort to share the proper interpretation of Messianic prophecies and Yeshua as the long-awaited Messiah in Israel. You can read more about it here.
3. Fear of Intimidation and Persecution
Another unique challenge of Jewish evangelism ministries today is the fear of intimidation and persecution. Rather than face societal pressures and intimidation, some Jewish people prefer to denounce faith in Yeshua.
If you find such people, remind them that the salvation of their souls is no match for any public acceptance they will receive by denying the truth. Here is Yeshua’s warning about such an attitude.
Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven (Matthew 10:32-33).
4. The Historic Attitude of the Catholic Church Towards the Jewish People
It has been more than seven decades since the Holocaust, yet Jewish people have not gotten over the role the Roman Catholic Church played in the mass murder of their brothers and sisters in Europe. Quite frankly, it is difficult to believe a group that inspired and supported such an inhumane act can be right on the subject of redemption.
First off, we must separate Yeshua from all that the Catholic Church did. Yeshua never inspired nor did evil against anyone. During His ministry, He went everywhere doing good (Acts 10:38). The Israelis of His time called Him “Good Master” (Mark 10:17; Luke 18:18).
Interestingly, Yeshua foresaw His name being misused. He said some people would think they are working for Him, but in a real sense, He would not know them (Matthew 7:21-25). So, it is clear that the Catholic Church, not Yeshua, was the European Jewish community’s enemy.
Secondly, we can encourage them that yesterday’s sorrows are no reason to reject the good news of today.
Another thing we can do is to pray about it. God can touch people’s hearts if we ask Him.
5. Inability to Understand the Mystery of Incarnation
The last challenge we will consider is people’s difficulty in comprehending the mystery behind God’s incarnation. This is a challenge for great commission ministries globally, anyway. Religious Jews will tell you, “The Scripture says God is not a man that He should lie. So, He is not a man and will never be one.”
Well, the quoted text (Numbers 23:19) only makes a distinction between man and God in how they fulfill their promises. Men lie, but God does not. God stands with His Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12; Isaiah 55:11).
The incarnation was God’s idea for the redemption of man. Remember God’s promise in Genesis 3:15? Yeshua’s incarnation fulfilled that prophecy.
Whenever people reach out to our Jewish evangelism ministries to share their struggles on accepting the incarnation, I tell them to keep praying and trusting God for supernatural conviction. The incarnation is a mystery that only God can help a man to comprehend.
Although not exhaustive, these are the everyday challenges of Jewish evangelism ministries. We believe God that as you apply the suggested solutions, more souls will come to the knowledge of the truth. In your evangelism, use every evangelical resource you have – articles, Israel music videos, anything that is edifying!