I was approached last week while in a local eatery reading “To The Jew First, A Textbook on Jewish Evangelism” and asked about what I was reading. I was delighted to be approached! The gentleman was intrigued by the title of the book that I was reading, and I was eager to use some of the techniques outlined in the book itself. The first thing that I said was that I was reading a book by a Jew who accepted Jesus as Messiah. He understood that concept and called himself a “recovering Catholic”. I asked him if was attending any church, and he said that he was not interested in any dogma, Catholic, protestant or otherwise and classified himself as an agnostic. To clarify, I asked if he acknowledges that there is a God, and he said yes, but that he believes that there is no way of knowing what God is up to, and that “He’s too big for Human kind to really understand beyond his existence”. I asked him about his perception of Jesus and he replied that there was no way of truly knowing anything about Jesus, because he believes that the Bible was man-written, and therefore untrustworthy.
After we got the groundwork out of the way, he asked me why Christians evangelize Jewish people. He recalled from Catholic school that the Jews were God’s chosen and stated that he was under the impression that they were all guaranteed heaven.
This is a great question, so I immediately said a small prayer silently that God open my mind and heart and allow me to be a channel of his words to this man. Then I opened up a website called bible gateway and started reading scriptures that pertain to God’s choosing of Israel. I started at the beginning of my knowledge of where God proclaims Israel “chosen”. Genesis 12:2-3
“And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."
This verse implies that the Jews are chosen so to be a blessing to others. And again in Deuteronomy 10:19
"Yet on your fathers did the LORD set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day. So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer. For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. So show your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt."
In this verse God goes so far as to tell the Jews that he shows no partiality! This verse also says that they are to be a blessing to those around them. And another in Deuteronomy 9:6
"Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people.”
After looking at these verses I also went through some of the Psalms that proclaim the chosen people
"I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, I will establish your seed forever And build up your throne to all generations." Psalm 89:3-4
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.” Psalm 33:12
So with theses scriptures open I asked what the overall feeling of the scriptures is. He replied that it seemed like the Jews were chosen, not for themselves, but for the rest of the world. He was quite surprised by this revelation, and I feel as though he truly saw things a new way.
When I was a kid I had asked my youth pastor the same question, and he told me that the Jews were chosen to produce the Messiah, not chosen to be better than everyone else. In this short sentence, he inspired me to read up for myself, and I soon came to a similar conclusion. These scriptures helped greatly with that conclusion.
So, after being prepared for just this question, I felt very confident. I then went onto the blog and referenced the passage from Matthew chapter 10 that I had used in my first posting, Matthew 10:5-7 in the New Living Translation “Don't go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but only to the people of Israel-God's lost sheep. Go and announce to them that the kingdom of Heaven is near." And then used the Great Commission to build upon it as I suggested in the blog and as the consensus from the commentary suggested.
The gentleman was quite impressed with my knowledge and even took the time to read my posting from July 21st about the new perspective on Paul. I could tell that the man was ready to part ways, so I asked him if there were any prayer requests that he had. He asked that I pray for his employment because the company that he works for is going through a big layoff procedure and he is worried. I assured him that I would pray for him later and asked if he would like to pray with me there. He respectfully declined the offer. I gave him my email address and the blog website. Since then I have prayed for his job situation and that he may not worry about tomorrow.
I have not heard from him, but, there is hope that I sewed some seeds and that he can again find comfort and strength in Jesus.
So now it’s your turn. Would you like to weigh in on the debate over the salvation of the Jews? Are there any other scriptures that you know of either in accordance with or that could refute my claims? Are there any other questions on the topic?
Please pray for the gentleman and his job as well.
And as always if there are any questions, comments, concerns or requests, feel free to share them!