Shalom and Happy New Year! Thank you for your prayers and support for Chosen People Ministries throughout 2017! This year begins our 124th year of ministry. We are excited about what God has done this past year, and we are anticipating what He will do in 2018.
Throughout the last year, millions have watched the evangelistic videos we produced in partnership with brothers and sisters in Israel. Our online campaigns have introduced us to thousands of Jewish people who want to know more about the Lord. We have had wonderful conferences, our Messianic congregations around the globe have been growing, and I recently attended the wedding of a young Israeli believer we led to the Lord in Brooklyn.
We have touched the lives of more Jewish people for Jesus than ever before in our 123 years of ministry! And we could not have done this without your partnership—so thank you on behalf of our staff family.
Yet still…most Jewish people do not believe in Jesus! Chosen People Ministries exists to be God’s instrument in changing this.
Have you ever wondered why Jewish people tend to reject Jesus as the Messiah?
There are many reasons, but let me share with you what I believe is the main reason Jewish people do not generally believe in Jesus.
Jewish people reject Jesus today because they believe that if they accept Jesus, they will no longer be Jewish.
Underlying this objection is the question of whether being Jewish means following a religion or belonging to an ethnic group. The answer to this is yes! Jewish people intertwine religion and ethnic identity and the two are really impossible to separate.
As a Jewish person, I was raised to believe that my ancestors would rather die than renounce being Jewish; unfortunately, becoming a “Christian” was seen by most Jewish people as meaning you were “no longer Jewish.” I was raised with stories of Jewish martyrs who refused to become Christians to save themselves during the time of the Crusades or other periods of persecution, such as in eastern Europe. These were powerful stories about Jewish people who chose death over conversion.
You see…NOT believing in Jesus was—and continues to be—viewed as an act of Jewish loyalty!
But the number of Jews who believe in Jesus is growing significantly and appears to be far larger than we thought during the past decade, according to recent surveys we have done of Jewish communities in the United States and Israel.
Yet, this objection of losing your Jewish identity is still number one! Jewish people also do not believe that God can become a man or that God is three in one. However, most Jewish people are not driven by their theological beliefs.
Telling My Grandparents
I remember when I told my grandparents I had become a believer in Jesus. They could not understand why. They genuinely believed that I was a spiritual traitor to my people and never talked to me again. That hurt! But, I understood why—because they left Eastern Europe to escape from the persecution they experienced by alleged Christians.
My parents’ generation felt this same way and so do most of my peers. Add in the Holocaust, which Jewish people generally believe was caused by Christians, and you can see why your Jewish friends do not want to talk about Jesus.
Is the above true? Do you need to leave your Jewishness at the door when you believe in Jesus? The answer is NO! The Bible in many ways teaches the opposite, since when a Jewish person believes in Jesus they, in fact, become the Jewish person God has always wanted them to be!
After all, Jesus is the Jewish Messiah for all!
I am Jewish and so is my wife. We raised our children to be Jewish, to celebrate all of the Jewish holidays, to love Israel, and to identify with the Jewish community. Creating the Jewish people was God’s idea…just ask Abraham when you see him (Genesis 12:1-3)!
Change is in the Air
But, let me tell you the good news. Most of the Jewish people I talk to about the Lord often seem to know a Jewish person who is a believer in Jesus. The presence of Messianic Jews, like myself, and the fellowships and congregations Chosen People Ministries and others have started around the globe have changed the landscape of Jewish evangelism.
I believe we are in a new season of Jewish openness to Jesus as we move toward the day, described by the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:25-26, when “all Israel (who are alive at the time) will be saved.”
The Testimony of Christians Who Love and Support Israel
I am also grateful for Christians who love and support Israel. According to a recent survey conducted by LifeWay Research, which we helped sponsor, the number of Christians who support Israel is more than 70 percent and even higher for those ages 45 and up! This is very encouraging news, but I am also concerned because the same study revealed that this support is declining among the younger generation of Christians. We are doing a lot to educate younger Christians about the Jewishness of Jesus, their Abrahamic heritage, and the ways in which Scripture continues to include the Jewish people in God’s plan for the ages.
Plans for 2018
We are preparing twenty-plus additional video testimonies of Jewish believers in Jesus that we filmed in the fall. This will give us almost one hundred beautiful testimonies of Jewish people who have found the Lord. We have also partnered with other ministries to develop an online video discipleship course based on the Sermon on the Mount for new Jewish believers and seekers. We continue to see incredible interest in Israel, especially among younger Jewish seekers, and we have sent more than 2,000 Isaiah 53 Explained books in Hebrew to Israeli seekers within Israel this past year. We hope to double that number in 2018 as we invest more money in Facebook ads in Hebrew, English, and five other languages!
Will you please pray with us for these efforts to reach Jewish people with the Good News of Jesus? The Gospel goes out online through social media, and from person to person through our staff evangelists and congregations. We are especially excited about the opportunity to expand our ministries in Tel Aviv, the most populous city in Israel, and to take on a few younger Israeli missionaries to develop these ministries.
Blessings in 2018!
Dr. Mitch Glaser
President of Chosen People Ministries