If you watch our Israeli testimonies, you will see that many times, their interest in Yeshua (Jesus) was piqued while they were traveling overseas. They met Christians, like you, who caused them to consider who Yeshua really was, and then started to investigate the matter for themselves.
If knowing Jesus has changed your life, the chances are that you will want to help others see how wonderful He is too. Perhaps you have come across Israelis where you live? Israelis love to travel, so it is quite common to find them wherever you might be in the world! Whether selling Dead Sea products at mall kiosks, backpacking through South America and India, hanging out in European hostels, or pioneering high-tech in Silicon Valley, Israelis are everywhere! But sharing the Gospel with Israelis is an unusually challenging enterprise, and so we would like to give you a few tips on the best ways to help someone meet their Messiah.
Why are Israeli Jews so closed to the Gospel?
Many Israelis will be friendly and will listen to what you have to say, but inside, there will usually be great opposition to the Gospel. The reasons for the hostility can be summed up in three ways:
1. God has partially hardened the hearts of the people of Israel
The Bible says that God himself has “partially hardened” the hearts of the people of Israel, in order that the Gospel would go around the world (Romans 11:25 onwards). Paul explains that,
“They too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy” (v31).
In other words, God has deliberately hardened the hearts of his people as a mercy to the nations, but has determined that through this same mercy you have received (ie, through YOU!), they also will also receive that mercy.
So it’s good news and bad news – the bad news is that God has made them harder than other people groups against the Gospel, but the good news is that this hardness is only partial, not complete, and only for a certain time. For many years, it was extremely rare for Jewish people to come to faith in Jesus, but today, Jewish people are coming into the Kingdom in numbers never seen since the time of Acts! Also, it is through the mercy shown to the Gentiles that God’s message of mercy can come! God wants to use you as a vessel of his mercy.
Isaiah 55 is a great chapter inviting Jewish people to repentance and faith. Why not pray through the passage, and let your faith grow as you join God in calling Israel back home.
Be ready for God to use YOU! Don’t be surprised if you see a hardness to the Gospel, but don’t be intimidated by it either. Be gentle and patient, giving time for the seed to grow. God’s words never return to Him empty.
2. There are 2,000 years of very distressing history to contend with
When an Israeli hears the words, “church”, “Christ”, “cross”, “Jesus”, and so on, it will automatically set their teeth on edge. Why? The reasons are very deep and complex, but in short, Christians have not historically been kind to the Jewish people. For most of church history, they have been enemies, and Jewish people have suffered greatly by Christians persecuting them in the name of Jesus. This is often hard for Christians to accept and comprehend, for the simple reason that this aspect of church history is not taught in the Christian world. You can find out more by simply searching on the internet, or reading books like Our Hands are Stained with Blood by Dr. Michael Brown to get a better idea of what goes through a Jewish mind when they hear the name “Jesus”.
Christians often don’t realise what mines they are setting off when they share the Gospel with Israelis, just by using words that are full of wonderful meaning to them, but filled with dread and horror to Jewish people.
You might want to learn a little about what the Jewish people have been through, and be willing to listen without being defensive, if your Jewish friend wants to talk about their issues with Jesus and the church.
3. It is culturally and socially taboo to even contemplate Yeshua as Messiah
The rabbinic leaders have done a very thorough brainwashing job on the people of Israel, giving alternate interpretations to all the passages that you might assume were as clear as day in pointing to Jesus. Israeli Jews have been raised to believe that accepting Jesus is an act of treachery against their own people. It is not only frowned upon, but there are severe societal repercussions for those who would dare to call on the name of Yeshua. It can be harder to find employment, there can be harassment from the neighbors, and sometimes families write off those who come to faith altogether, even holding a funeral for them if the family is Orthodox. It is a one-way ticket to social alienation, and every Israeli is quite aware of that fact. It is true that there are more and more Israelis who are now willing to pay that cost, having discovered the ‘Pearl of Great Price’ (Matt 13:45-46), but it is worth bearing in mind the weight that this subject carries for them. The odds are severely stacked against them, and battling two millennia of rabbinic and cultural brainwashing is no easy task for those unfamiliar with the territory.
Instead of trying to undo 2000 years of brainwashing, simply sharing your own testimony is a very powerful way to witness about who God is, and what it’s like to know Him personally. This creates a jealousy! (Romans 11:11)
Help is at hand!
It has been noted by Jewish evangelists that often it takes the cooperation of Jews and Gentiles to lead Jewish people to faith: A Gentile is often the first to “knock on the door” and start the conversation, but it will often take a Jewish believer to help a Jewish person actually take the step of faith.
If you have any connections with Israelis, you can take our ONE FOR ISRAEL evangelists with you in your pocket, ready to share the truth in ways that make sense culturally – and in the Hebrew language – on igod.co.il
The ONE FOR ISRAEL website that you are on right now is directed primarily towards Gentile Christians who live among the nations, and who understand English. However, it is not designed to reach Jewish Israelis with the Gospel.
We have other websites for that purpose.
For the best explanation of the Gospel to give to Israelis, direct your friends to visit igod.co.il – it is specifically designed to reach Jews, and is targeted at Israelis as their first language is Hebrew. It probably won’t make much sense to you, but it will make a lot more sense to your Israeli friend who can hear the truth in their own heart language, from Israelis just like them!
On igod.co.il, they will find:
- 150 apologetics and evangelistic videos in Hebrew
- 30 Israeli testimonies, all shared in Hebrew
- 500 articles answering rabbinic and atheistic objections to the Gospel, presented in a manner that is culturally sensitive, and ideal for reaching your Israeli friends
We receive messages every week from Israelis who have been on our websites, reading articles and watching our videos, and wanting to know more about Jesus. We have lost count of how many have come to faith as a result. Israelis are coming to faith in great numbers in our days, and often the story of how they came to faith involves searching on the internet and finding our materials.
So when you meet an Israeli, make sure you tell them about igod.co.il!