Throughout our 40 years in ministry, we at Jews for Jesus have heard a whole lot of objections about who we are, what we do, and what we believe. As it turns out, being Jews who believe that Jesus is the Messiah has not made us exceedingly popular with our fellow tribesmen.
One of the (numerous) complaints we hear is centered on our work as an organization (and contrary to what many believe, Jews for Jesus is the name of a nonprofit mission organization, not the name by which all Jewish believers wish to be known). It usually goes something like this.
“Jews for Jesus just wants to lure Jews and convert them to Christianity!”
You already read it in the first paragraph: we’re a nonprofit mission organization. We’re Jewish missionaries. To our fellow Jewish people. So, do we want to tell Jewish people about Jesus, that he’s the Messiah our people were promised way back when, the one for whom we’ve all been waiting? Absolutely, 100%, no question. And really, Jewish people have been telling other Jewish people about the Messiah ever since Moses mentioned him in Deuteronomy 18:15-22.
Do we “just want to lure Jews…”?
Not at all.
There’s no lure, no bait, no trap. Just Jews talking with Jews about the Messiah God sent to our people 2,000 years ago. We’re not machines, we’re real people. These are our real beliefs and convictions. We truly believe what John wrote in his gospel (a word which means “good news,” which is what we’re trying to share): “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him would not perish, but have everlasting life.” And that’s why we want to share it with our brothers and sisters all over the world. We can’t change anyone’s mind, convince them of anything, or make anyone believe anything.
We just want to talk.
As for “convert them to Christianity…”:
Throughout much of history, our people have rightfully associated that kind of language with oppression and anti-Semitism. But Gentiles don’t own the rights to Jesus. We’re talking about something which at its very foundation is Jewish. Jewish prophets wrote about him for thousands of years. Jesus was born a Jew. Raised by Jewish parents. In Israel. All his first followers were Jews.
What, exactly, might be un-Jewish about believing in Jesus, given that pedigree? To what, exactly, might we by trying to convert other Jewish people? To a belief in the Jewish Messiah? Sorry, no conversion necessary.
When God sent Jesus to live and minister among the Jewish people, he was saying that he would be among us—that we wouldn’t have to think of him as being removed from our people, our lives, our pain, our joy. Jesus was God in the flesh, living among his chosen people, offering salvation to all who believed, to the Jew first and then the Gentile.
What we’re doing is making sure our people recognize what God is still offering. The truth about Jesus is good news—life changing news. That’s what we want to share with our brothers and sisters.
Just talking. Just good news. Just the Messiah for whom we’ve been waiting.
Jesus is for the Jewish people. Always was, always will be.
We’re Jews for Jesus. We just want to talk. Honest.