Category Archives: Jews and Christians

Respect Cuts Both Ways: Christians Can Celebrate Passover Too

This article was also published by Christianity Today on April 10, 2017.


On April 6, 2017, Christianity Today (CT) published an article entitled, “Jesus Didn’t Eat a Seder Meal: Why Christians Shouldn’t Either” by rabbis Yehiel E. Poupko and David Sandmel. The article argues that Christians should refrain from participating in Christian Seders as a matter of historical and ecumenical respect. We disagree on both points.

There is great interest today by Christians to learn more and participate in Seders to help them better understand the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. In particular, knowing more about the Seder helps Christians explore the Jewish background of the Last Supper celebrated by Jesus, whom we know was a first-century Jewish teacher, and his disciples, who were also Jewish. Both Jesus and his disciples would have grown up observing the Passover in whatever fashion Jewish people living at the time observed the feast.

We agree with the rabbis regarding the importance of caution in the way the sacred traditions of the Jewish faith are handled.

We also agree that Jesus did not celebrate the Passover the way Jewish people commonly observe the festival in the 21st century. However, the Last Supper accounts in the Gospels record a number of themes and practices held in common with the Passover Seder. Perhaps the Last Supper should be viewed as a primitive Seder, which was used by Yeshua as the backdrop for his claim to be the fulfillment of the types and prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures for a greater Lamb, a greater redemption from bondage (to sin), and a new perspective on salvation through His shed blood.

Many Christians and especially Messianic Jews (Jewish believers in Jesus) exercise caution in the way the Messiah is linked to the Passover Seder. In the introduction to a new book entitled Messiah in the Passover, which we edited, Christian readers in particular are encouraged to both study and celebrate the Passover as a way to deepen their appreciation for the Jewishness of the Savior. To describe the book’s approach Dr. Glaser writes,

In general, we have taken a very cautious approach and will try and understand the Jewish backgrounds of the New Testament as best we can and not simply presume that the Mishnaic tractate Pesahim or today’s Passover Haggadah can simply be read into the Last Supper. Yet, we point out where we do find striking parallels between the religious customs observed by Jesus and His disciples at the Last Supper with later Jewish religious developments, and so many of our authors will suggest that these traditions could have been practiced during the Last Supper.[1]

These parallels include the drinking of at least two cups of wine:

And when He [Jesus] had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” . . . And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. (Luke 22:17-18, 20)

The breaking of bread, which should be understood as matzah, unleavened bread as we know this meal, took place on Passover. Luke records, “Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching” (Luke 22:1). Yeshua says,

And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19)

Dr. Bock notes in his chapter,

What makes this meal so different is that Jesus not only refers to the Exodus and ties the meal to Israel’s history, but also completely recasts the meal as a vehicle for describing His coming death as a substitutionary sacrifice. The Lucan reference “for you” points to the substitutionary nature of the sacrifice. In Mark 14:24 Jesus speaks of His shed blood given “for many,” an allusion to Mark 10:45, presenting the idea that Jesus will die as a “ransom for many.” This is in fact a very likely Messianic allusion to Isaiah 53:12, where the Servant bears the sin of the many.

In the Lucan version, the bread is His body and the wine pictures His blood shed for His disciples. Whether Jesus spoke of “the many” as in Mark 14:24 or of the sacrifice being “for you” as in Luke 22:19–20, the point is crystal clear, as Jesus is about to die as an offering made on behalf of others. The allusion to establishing a covenant (Mark 14:24) or a new covenant (Luke 22:20) also assumes a sacrifice and the shedding of blood (Heb. 9:15–22) to inaugurate a covenant.

So in both versions the meal is portrayed as a commentary on Jesus’ forthcoming work, which is the ultimate act of deliverance the Passover anticipated. What started as Israel’s deliverance also had in mind ultimately blessing for the world (Gen. 12:1–3). In places within the meal and service where you would naturally expect to hear about the deliverance of Israel through the first Exodus, we see Jesus pointing His disciples to His substitutionary death for sinners—a second and even greater Exodus deliverance.[2]

Dr. Glaser’s chapter refers to Passover traditions embedded in the Gospel of John, which reflect first-century Jewish life and parallel the celebrations of today.[3] First, John sets the time of the events recorded as taking place during the time of the Passover: “Now before the Feast of the Passover” (John 13:1).

The foot washing that takes place alludes to the various washings in the context of the Passover meal (John 13:3-12). Both the significance of the ritual and the timing as taking place during the meal goes beyond the usual custom of foot washing upon entry to a Jewish home. The dipping of the morsel seems to be more ceremonial than part of a meal and could refer to one of the dipping’s of the Seder, albeit these were further developed in time to come. We are suggesting that Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Passover the same way any other first-century Jewish family may have done at the time.[4]

It is understood that the Messiah did not celebrate what was created over multiple centuries. Yet, oral traditions may have existed at the time that was eventually included in the Passover celebration.

Christians read and believe the history of Israel recorded in the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament. Jewish and non-Jewish followers of Jesus believe the Passover is a paradigm for salvation that finds its fulfillment at the Last Supper when Yeshua gave new meaning to what was observed at that time. Christians who observe the Passover almost always use an adapted version of the Haggadah that takes this Messianic fulfillment into consideration. This is what Messianic Jews and various church groups and Christian church denominations encourage.

The rabbis might very well misunderstand what transpires during a Christian or Messianic Jewish Passover Seder. As the authors of the article suggest,

. . . adopting another’s ritual shows a lack of respect. Even when pursued with the best of intentions, taking another faith’s sacred ritual and transforming it into an expression of one’s own tradition displays a misunderstanding of the complex nature of faith traditions.

The Lord’s Supper, which was probably an adapted and early version of a Passover meal, is referred to many times in the New Testament (e.g., 1 Cor. 11:23-26). Jesus made it part of our faith tradition—not as an outsider but as a Jew who claimed to be the fulfillment of the Messianic hope of the Jewish people.

It can be assumed that the great themes of redemption and salvation had already woven its way into first-century Jewish Passover observance, as nascent as it may have been at the time of Jesus. Jesus affirms this and does not dismiss the importance of the original Passover deliverance commemorated at the Feast. He simply assured the disciples that there was more to come. This was why He used the Passover celebration as a jumping-off point to declare that God’s New Covenant with the Jewish people would begin with His sacrificial death.

The rabbis would do well to view Christian observance of the Passover as fulfilled in Jesus as a sign of appreciation and a way of honoring Jewish tradition. In fact, many Christians who take the Lord’s Supper in the context of a Messianic Passover Seder find it far more meaningful as it ties two of the most profound statements of Jesus to both Jewish and salvation history.

The first century Jewish backgrounds to Communion drives so many Christians to identify with the Jewishness of their faith. This should be viewed as a step forward in Jewish Christian relations as for so many years the chasm between Christians and Jews was wide and even antagonistic. Progress has been made and in many ways there is a greater appreciation and respect among Christians today for the Jewish faith than ever before. This should be affirmed rather than criticized.

Many have noted the deep roots of Torah, from Exodus 12, in whatever Jesus celebrated that evening with His disciples. The links between the two events existed historically and remain canonized in Scripture. Paul said Jesus is our Passover lamb (1 Cor. 5:7). What Jesus did at this meal was to fulfill an Old Testament type established in the book of Exodus. Both the original Exodus and the cross deliver people and show that God keeps His promises. When believers in Jesus observe a Seder, they affirm and celebrate these links and the continuity of the Testaments.

The rabbis conclude,

The Seder is uniquely Jewish, born of the Jewish reading of the Torah, shaped by the architecture of our magisterial Perushim-Pharisees and their rabbis, and given artistry and beauty through 2,000 years of Jewish experience. Christians best honor their Jewish neighbors, to whom they wish to express the love of Christ, by recognizing that the Seder meal is the unique spiritual heritage of the Jewish people and respecting it as such.

We believe such statements undo the bridges built over the last 50 years of Jewish-Christian relations. The question of whether or not Jesus celebrated a Passover Seder as we now know it today is to some degree moot. He observed the Passover in the same way as any other first-century Jew. This event can draw Jews and Christians closer to one another rather than driving an additional wedge between our faith communities.

What is concerning to us is when Christians do not see any identification with the Jewish people and the Jewish backgrounds of their faith. But more to the point, we simply cannot rob Christians of their heritage in Jesus—especially not the events of the Last Supper, which was clearly some type of Passover celebration.

We believe respect cuts both ways.

Dr. Mitch Glaser
President, Chosen People Ministries
New York, New York

Dr. Darrell L. Bock
Executive Director of Cultural Engagement and
Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies
Dallas Theological Seminary | 
Dallas, Texas


[1] Mitch Glaser, “Introduction” in Messiah in the Passover, ed. Darrell L. Bock and Mitch Glaser (New York: Chosen People Ministries; Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2017).

[2] Darrell L. Bock, “Passover in the Gospel of Luke,” in Bock and Glaser, Messiah in the Passover, chap. 4.

[3] See Mitch Glaser, “Passover in the Gospel of John,” in Bock and Glaser, Messiah in the Passover, chap. 5.

[4] Glaser, “Introduction.”

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Finding God In Middle Earth

Dear friend in the Messiah,

Shalom in the glorious name of Jesus our Messiah! This newsletter will highlight our various short-term outreach ministries around the globe where we give volunteers and staff the opportunity to reach Jewish people.

Just recently, I was in New Zealand where I was able to witness the amazing work there among Israeli backpackers. Thanks to hundreds of Christians here who have opened up their hearts and their homes to traveling Israelis, Jewish ministry in New Zealand has exploded!

This morning I had an unforgettable experience as I walked outside my hotel room very early and came face to face with stars and constellations (in reverse configuration!). All I wanted to do was shout Hallelujah!, but it was too early so I restrained myself. I had what I can only describe as a “King David moment” as all I could think of was the Psalmist’s description of what he saw in the night sky above 
Israel reflected in Psalm 8.

David declared, 

O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! (Psalm 8:1)

And, dear friend, all you have to do is to take one look at the pristine array of stars filling the night sky rising high above the mountains of the South 
Island in New Zealand and you would want to do the same!

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2017: A Critical Time for Bringing the Message of New Life to the Jewish People

It was an exciting panel discussion — the exploration of one of the great passages describing the end-time salvation of Israel and the Jewish people in the last days — and I had been asked to be part of it!

The Carl Henry Center for Theological Understanding on the campus of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, hosted the conversation on Romans 11:25-29 … 

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” “This is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

The following is part of my contribution to the discussion of this prophetic passage — which has much to say about our work together and Israel’s salvation:

The questions that emerge from our reading of Romans 11:25-29 are especially important for me. Their substance forms the very basis for my identity as a Messianic Jew and my expectations regarding the future of my relatives and extended Jewish family.

I would imagine that this was no different for the apostle Paul, for I believe that Romans 9-11 is the section of this great epistle where the apostle bares his heart and soul for his people—the nation of Israel.

In Romans 11:25-27, Paul is describing the end of an era in which the Jewish people are estranged from God because the Jewish leaders had rejected Jesus at His first coming.

However, based upon Paul’s argument in these three chapters, it is clear that God has not rejected the Jewish people at all (Romans 11:1) and has preserved a remnant within the nation (Romans 11:5), until the day when the remnant will actually become the nation. In this passage, the apostle Paul tells us that in the end God will save “all” Israel, which I would understand this as the entirety of the nation of Israel who are alive at that time.

This cataclysmic end-time event occurs after what the apostle Paul describes as the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. It is evident from this passage that prior to the salvation of national Israel and the end of days there will be a season where God is working among the Gentiles in a special way—grafting numerous wild olive branches into the olive tree as described in Romans 11:16-24.

Israel’s Hope for Salvation

This great event is more fully described in other passages of Scripture—especially in certain sections of the Old Testament. For example, Zechariah 12 seems to prophetically document the process by which the end-time remnant of ethnic Israel comes to know the Lord.

Dr. Charles Feinberg, in his commentary on Zechariah, writes the following about the context of this passage:

The actual events, world embracing in character, which are presented include the world confederacy against Jerusalem:  the conviction of Israel nationally by the Spirit of God; the presentation of Christ as their rejected Messiah; the National Day of Atonement; the cleansing of the hearts of the nation; the purging of the land from idolatry; the crucifixion of the Messiah, the time of Jacob’s trouble, the partial success of the nations invading Palestine (Israel) and besieging Jerusalem; the appearance of the Messiah for His people; their rescue and his coming with his saints; the changed and renovated Holy Land; the Feast of Tabernacles and more![1]

The events described are future to our day. The nations of the earth will surround the Jewish people. Jerusalem will be about to fall. But God will intervene and send His Son to save His chosen people.

Verse 10 is clearly the highlight of the prophecy. The prophet writes,

And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn (Zechariah 12:10).

In effect, Romans 11:25-26 is the fulfillment of Zechariah 12:10. And if you add to this Romans 11:12 and 11:15, the picture of future redemption painted by Paul now takes on a greater shape and context.

Your Role in Reaching Jewish People for Jesus

Where do we stand today? In a practical sense, we should look back to Romans 11:11, where the apostle writes, “I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.”

I believe these are the marching orders for the Church with regard to Jewish evangelism.

Gentiles are called to make Jewish people jealous with the Gospel. This Gospel proclamation, through word and deed, to your Jewish friends and family will be God’s way to move us closer to the great day when all Israel will be saved.

You never know if the Jewish person you are talking to about the Lord might be one of those who are part of this end-time remnant of “all Israel.” And, of course, we hope to see our Jewish loved ones come to faith in Jesus now and enjoy the abundant life He brings.

So, what can you do today to make a difference in the lives of your Jewish friends?

  1. Pray for the salvation of your Jewish friends and loved ones.
  2. Ask God to give you an open door to speak to your friend or relative about Jesus.
  3. Share Chosen People Ministries resources with your Jewish friends. We have lots of tracts, brochures and books such as Isaiah 53 Explained you can give to your Jewish friends.
  4. Invite them to view our online resources by going to www.Isaiah53.com or to hear dozens of testimonies of Messianic Jews who have found the Lord as their Messiah at www.ifoundshalom.com.
  5. Invite your friend or relative to a Messianic congregation or Bible study. Check our website to see if there is one near you or call us at 212-223-2252 to find a place you can bring your Jewish friend to hear about the Lord.

May this year be a year of great blessing for you and your family as we take one step further towards the return of our blessed Messiah and Savior Jesus!
Yours in Messiah,

Dr. Mitch Glaser
President

 


[1] Feinberg, Charles, The Prophecies of the Prophet Zechariah, Chicago, Ill:  Moody Press pg. 219

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God’s Faithfulness in 2015

Dear friend,
Shalom and Happy New Year! I hope 2016 will bring you even greater joy and blessings than 2015! This is my prayer for you, your family, your business, your friendships, your congregation and for your ministry. As believers in Jesus we long for His return and realize that the going will get tougher rather than easier in the days ahead. Yet, we can have His joy and experience the abundant life He promised, even in the midst of a broken and fallen world. As Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10).

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This expectation is not unrealistic but comes through the Holy Spirit who indwells, empowers and makes Jesus real to us every moment of our lives! We preach a message that not only provides forgiveness of sin, but also leads to a beautifully transformed life. He promised that we would enjoy a supernatural peace in our souls that would not come and go with our circumstances, but remain constant because of His abiding presence in our hearts!

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful (Jn. 14:27).

We can face tomorrow with confidence because of His presence, power and promises to walk with us through this life and to be our guiding light when surrounded by darkness. Hallelujah…He lives and reigns…and one day will return as the rightful King over a world that is no longer tainted by our sin and the sin of our forefathers!

I hope you have a smile on your face!

We are not “pie in the sky” people or unrealistic—we simply know Jesus—and to know Him is life everlasting!

A Cup of Coffee…or Tea?
I really wish I could sit down with you and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and tell you about the exciting things that happened during 2015 through the efforts of Your Mission to the Jewish People! May I list a few and help broaden that smile?

1601PZLW_Mitch_12-2Our online outreach campaigns brought us into contact with more than 2,000 Jewish people who are interested in Jesus.

Almost 10 million people (yes…that is million) viewed the evangelistic testimony videos we produced in cooperation with our partners in the Land of Israel.

The Isaiah 53 Explained book is now available in French, Farsi, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Hebrew, and English, along with a number of other languages! We are reaching out to Jewish people living in the countries where these languages are spoken! In addition, 500-plus Hebrew-speaking Israelis have responded and requested the book and we are following up on as many of these seekers as possible.

Our missionaries in Israel baptized a couple dozen Jewish people including a number of newly saved Holocaust survivors.

We have increased our staff in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas and in other places with large Jewish populations…praise the Lord!

We have seen more than a hundred Jewish people accept Jesus as their Savior—which in Jewish missions (remember we are a remnant—Romans 11:5) is quite a banner year!

We ministered to a few hundred children through the Chosen People Ministries’ camping programs, provided food packages for thousands of elderly and needy Israelis, and opened a new center in New Zealand to reach “wandering Israelis” (who are traveling after their time in the army).

We have touched the lives of multiple thousands of Jewish people as Chosen People Ministries continues to minister in 16 countries and dozens of cities around the world! 

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A Tough Year for the Jewish People
I rejoice in all of the good things God has done through our staff and our partnership through your love, prayers, financial support and engagement with our ministry!However, it was a rough year for the Jewish people.

The world, including our own country, continues to grow more and more anti-Israel. The Middle East and the West are becoming more antisemitic and violent. Anti-Jewish attacks are on the increase this year…perhaps more than any time since the Holocaust.

The new strategy of “personal terrorism” by radicalized Palestinians in Israel has taken the lives of many innocent Israelis and seriously injured hundreds.

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The Church in North America and the West seems to be growing cold to Israel and the Jewish people, both theologically and in their hearts.

I hope we will see the beginning of a new movement in 2016 among Christians who love the Jewish Messiah and care about the people of Israel!

We need to stand up and protest the violence. We should demand that our elected officials pressure those encouraging personal terrorism by their silence to put an end to the attacks. You can sign our latest petition by going to chosenpeople.com/petition.

Reaching Jewish People for Jesus in 2016
Most of all, we need to intensify our efforts to reach Jewish people for Jesus in 2016! I believe, along with so many Christians, that the Lord is coming soon. Followers of Jesus need to keep singing this tune…louder and more powerfully as the signs of the times point to a crescendo that might come sooner rather than later. As Jesus so poignantly asked the Jewish leaders, “Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?” (Mt. 16:2-3).

We need to discern the signs of the times in which we live. They point to the return of the Lord Jesus, especially if we look at Israel and the prophecies fulfilled before our very eyes!

Will you commit to pray for the Jewish people in 2016? Pray for their safety during these perilous times, but most of all, pray that they would come to know their Jewish Messiah, Jesus!

Now is the time to preach the Good News to God’s chosen people and, as you know, we need your support to reach Jewish people for the Lord! We are an independent faith mission and do not receive any denominational support. We are supported by Jesus-loving believers, local churches, Christian businesses and foundations—all who share our burden for the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Would you begin the New Year with a generous gift to Your Mission to the Jewish People? Your support sustains our online evangelistic efforts, the work in Israel and Brooklyn and enables us to provide for those behind-the-scenes administrative workers, without whom we could not keep our missionaries on the field.

I still recall the letter I received almost 19 years ago when I was given the privilege of leading our 122-year-old mission to the Jewish people.

I believe this gentleman was older as his handwriting was a bit shaky. He wrote, “Mitch, I love Chosen People Ministries and believe in your ministry, but how am I supposed to know what to give if you do not tell me what you need?”

I found his comment helpful and so I do not mean to tell you what you should give, as I view this as a sacred transaction between you and the Lord. I want you to hear from God about giving or not giving and the amount you give as well. All I can tell you is that it costs about $400,000 each month to provide the support staff, missionary project funding and help for those missionaries unable to raise their support—including many overseas serving in some of the toughest spots to minister! It would cost more than this but our faithful missionaries continue to raise their support.1601PZLW_SB15-EVANG-Subway_9534

I am so grateful for our missionaries and for those who support them—especially monthly! So, please pray about giving and you might even want to begin the year by also pledging to give a certain amount each month or quarter—and we have provided a way for you to do this through our Watchman for Jerusalem program. Please see the details on our website, and be sure to watch the video found at chosenpeople.com/watchmen which tells you more about the program and especially discusses the security of online giving.

On behalf of the Chosen People Ministries global family—Happy New Year and thank you for your partnership in the Gospel!

May the Lord fill you with His joy in 2016! And may the Lord come soon and find us faithful when He does.

Your brother,

Mitch

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Stories of God’s Grace to the Jewish People

Dear friend,

Shalom from New York City!

I am grateful for what the Lord has done through Your Mission to the Jewish People this year. May I share several first-hand stories of “divine appointments” our missionaries had with Jewish people in which they had significant conversations about the Messiah? Some have even accepted Jesus quite recently through these efforts!

I know you will be encouraged and blessed to read these stories and most of all I hope you will pray for the Jewish people mentioned!

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The first story comes from Joseph who serves in Brooklyn and is a part of the team planting a new congregation at our Feinberg Center. Joseph writes,

A couple months ago I met a young Yemenite Jewish man at my book table. Shmulik* was excited to receive a New Testament in Hebrew. It was as if I gave him a bar of gold the way he kept looking at it and skimming the pages! I showed Shmulik where to start reading in Matthew and as he read the opening words in Hebrew he grew very excited, “This is the genealogy of Yeshua the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Shmulik was beaming from ear to ear yet pacing around a bit, telling me how he was taught to avoid the New Testament. He was scared and excited at the same time. I encouraged Shmulik to think for himself, that he will stand alone before HaShem (the Lord) one day and have to give an account. He agreed.

Kirill serves in Chicago with his wife Elena. They came to the U.S. from Germany, but are originally from Russia. God blessed their ministry in Germany but today they have started two congregations for Russian Jews in the Chicago area. Kirill reports,

We recently had a great baptismal service! The testimonies of the believers deeply touched the hearts of those at the service. The testimony of a Jewish sister was very important to me personally. This young woman visited our congregation for the first time three years ago. After that service, we prayed the sinner’s prayer together. Her new life after accepting Jesus was not easy.  After years of personal discipleship and ministry she was finally ready to be baptized. What she said before I baptized her touched my heart and life and is a great encouragement to my ministry. She publicly testified, “Coming to faith in Jesus the Messiah and understanding everything He did for me, I want to spend the rest of my life being in His service. What a blessing!”

Anna in Toronto tells this wonderful story…

Ronald,* his wife Sarah* and two kids, Samuel* (12) and Aren* (4),  recently immigrated to Canada from Israel. Vladimir and I befriended them, and invited them to our home. We spoke about the Lord, and they were very interested, but could not make a decision right away. Little by little, Ronald and Sarah opened up to the Messiah. Recently we gathered together for tea. The conversation about the Lord was long, and at last they made decisions to pray. At that moment the doorbell rang and their neighbor, Violetta,* dropped by. She began to ask questions too, and we explained to her the way of salvation. Then we offered Ronald, Sarah and Violetta the opportunity to pray; they agreed. Suddenly, Samuel got up from the sofa, came to the table and announced that he was going to pray with us also. We held hands and bowed our heads. So that day, these four souls became children of God. Praise the Lord!

Person to Person – Heart to Heart

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I hope these wonderful stories of God’s grace give you some idea of what He is doing among the Jewish people through our staff! I am thankful this Thanksgiving to work with such gifted and dedicated servants of the Lord who serve Him in the power of the Holy Spirit. We do all we can to help our missionaries by praying for them and providing the administrative support and guidance they need to fulfill their ministries. But, I realize that the core of our almost 122-year-old ministry among the Jewish people is what is done by the Lord through His people—person to person and heart to heart, one seeker at a time!

Robert and his wife, Joanna, serve the Lord in Brooklyn and are also part of the team planting a new congregation in the “other” Holy Land! Robert shares,

I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with a young Jewish man, David,* every week and to study the Bible together. After going through the story of the Exodus, I sensed it was a good time to make the clear connection to what God has accomplished for us through Jesus. We discussed how Jesus is our unblemished Passover Lamb, whose blood has been shed to set us free from slavery, to redeem us, and to bring us to God. The time was right so I asked David, “Do you believe this is true of Jesus?” David answered yes. So I followed up and asked, “Have you ever prayed to accept Jesus as your Savior and gone through the door from a slave to a free man?” He answered, “No…but I think that would be a good idea.” We then prayed, and he accepted the Messiah! 

Maxim, who serves in Israel, also shared with us a quick update and report about his incredible ministry among Holocaust survivors,

​One of our Holocaust survivors came to faith and got baptized recently. We were praying for his wife who used to say she was not ready for such a step. Nevertheless, she always asked for prayer that she might have the faith that her husband does. Praise the Lord! She said she is ready and received the Lord recently. She attends congregation with her husband and we are eagerly looking forward to her baptism.

Online and In Person
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As you know, we have initiated extensive online ministries during the last few years including our Isaiah 53 Campaign, as well as our newest endeavor—I Found Shalom. These websites utilize video testimonies of Jewish people who have placed their faith in Yeshua (Jesus) and are amazing tools to share the Gospel with Jewish people. We have received the contact information of Jewish seekers throughout the United States, Israel and many other countries with whom we are personally following up! May I share one quick testimony? A Jewish man who is married to a born-again woman watched some of the testimony videos we produced and accepted the Lord! The dialogue unfolds as follows,

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The Jewish man’s wife writes,
After watching some of your videos earlier in the week, he decided to pray and ask God to show him if Jesus is really the Messiah. I prayed too and ask the Lord to show him in any way possible His truth.

We found out that he lives near one of our staff and I asked our missionary to follow up. She writes a few days later,

Just heard from L. She conveyed how D. is growing and transforming in the Lord. They’ve already attended a Messianic congregation. D also now attends church and loves the pastor!

There are many other stories to tell you as our Isaiah 53 and I Found Shalom campaigns have introduced us to hundreds of Jewish people seeking the Lord and the follow up has almost been overwhelming…in a very good way!
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Thank You for Caring!
Will you commit to praying for our missionaries, as well as all the Jewish people (and Gentiles!) they are ministering to? Your prayers are a vital part of our ministry!

We deeply appreciate your prayers and faithful financial support of our missionaries. 

We established the “Daniel Fuchs Memorial Fund” for our under-supported missionaries who are still working on raising their full support (Dr. Fuchs was one of our former presidents who served Chosen People Ministries for many decades). Though we need your support in general, you might want to give a special gift this month to help one of our missionaries who have not yet raised their full support.

Your gifts keep Your Mission to the Jewish People moving forward for the Lord.

It takes a village to proclaim the Gospel throughout the world and to be able to follow up on individuals who want to know more about our Savior. So, your financial investment makes all the difference in the lives of our staff and, of course, in eternity for the Jewish people we reach for Jesus the Messiah.

​Happy Thanksgiving! I pray this season of the year will give you great joy for all He has done for us through His Son.

​Your brother,Mitch

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The Power of a Good Story

Dear Friend, 

1510NLW_IFoundShalomBooklet

Everyone loves a good story.

I know I do! They may be funny and make me smile, or even laugh out loud. They may be emotionally moving—causing me to feel deeply what others have felt and even make me shed a sympathetic tear. Or the story might even be filled with new insights that lead me to an “a-ha” moment that can significantly change my life.

Storytelling holds a special place in Jewish life and tradition. The Hebrew Bible is full of stories. So is the Talmud. Jewish people have skillfully enlisted storytelling in service to religious truth for thousands of years.

We all know that a good story does not simply tell you what happened, but engages you mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. Good stories often lead to a point designed to make an impact in your life and the lives of others. A good story draws your imagination into a vivid world that holds out the promise of transformation—a promise that it is often able to deliver. These are really the best kind of stories! God made us to be very complex creatures and we need all of our senses engaged in order to be moved to the point where we can actually consider changing our behavior or begin thinking differently about life.

Mark Twain, in his little book entitled, How to Tell a Story, writes, “I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told, for I have been almost daily in the company of the most expert story-tellers for many years.”

Storytelling is more than just a skill. It is an art. Some of us are better than others in spinning a yarn, telling a shaggy dog story, recounting a humorous incident or simply describing events in the way that helps the listener or reader feel as though they experienced the event for themselves. Not everyone can easily communicate the emotion, feelings, poignancy and pathos of life’s events. So many of us will admit that when we go to synagogue or church and listen to a sermon, we walk away remembering the point made through a story far more than anything else the rabbi or minister said.

Mark Twain added his thoughts on the most difficult stories to tell, “There are several kinds of stories, but only one difficult kind—the humorous…The humorous story bubbles gently along, the others burst. The humorous story is strictly a work of art—high and delicate art—and only an artist can tell it… .”

I think the author of Proverbs puts it best: A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones (Proverbs 17:22).

We all like a good laugh and a good cry. Stories, whether told, written, filmed or acted should be viewed as a gift from God to His creation. From Genesis on, our distinctively Jewish take on creation and humanity is reflected in our stories. As Rabbi Nachman of Bratslov once declared, “People tell their children stories to put them to sleep. I tell people stories to wake them up.”

I hope you will enjoy these moving stories of individuals who found shalom—peace—through their encounter with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through Yeshua, who is called the Prince of Peace. And may I be so bold as to say that I hope they “wake you up”?

The I Found Shalom Website

This is one of the reasons we created the I Found Shalom website. After all, if there’s one story we can all tell—it is the story of our lives. It is very difficult to argue or debate another person’s experience and try to determine if it is true or false. But if we are receptive to another’s story, we may find that it reaches us in unexpected ways. I hope that you will enjoy the following stories, which describe the ways in which these individuals had a personal encounter with the God of the universe.

Each one of the storytellers is Jewish and experienced what may be described as a “dramatic encounter” with the Messiah of Israel—Yeshua (Jesus). We have condensed and summarized their more lengthy and very personal accounts, which are on the website, for you to read and enjoy. After you have read them, I hope your interest will be piqued enough for you to go to the website and watch them. These men and women come from every walk of life: business professionals, moms, dads, old and young. Yet, all of them say something that is remarkably similar—that meeting their Messiah has enabled them to experience the peace and joy of knowing the One who made them.

If you are already a believer in the Messiah, I know that these stories will greatly encourage you as you see God work in the lives of others. If you are a seeker and not yet a follower of Messiah Yeshua, I hope that these written summaries and then the video stories themselves will make you laugh and even move you to the depths of your soul. My prayer is that you might discover exactly what these storytellers have experienced as well.

Finding Shalom in the Messiah

It was more than 40 years ago that I had the same experience! I was raised in a traditional Jewish home in New York City. When I was 19 years old, my two best friends became followers of Jesus the Messiah. Quite frankly, I was not looking for a relationship with God and I especially was not looking for Jesus. Like many of my generation, I was raised to believe that He was the enemy of the Jewish people and inspiration for antisemitism. Most Jewish people I knew believed the same way.

But, my two best Jewish friends became followers of Jesus amidst a host of incredible circumstances. Although I couldn’t deny their experience, I would argue to the best of my ability to show that they were wrong and that Jewish people should not believe in Jesus. They did not argue back! As I watched their lives change and their new stories continued to touch my life, I saw their shalom in the midst of difficult circumstances. I was amazed to see them pray and speak to God as if He was right next to them. Then I began reading the Bible. I was completely mesmerized by the parables—the stories that Yeshua told in the New Testament. Slowly, my eyes began to open and finally I recognized that Yeshua was the Messiah of Israel for both Jews and Gentiles.

I hope you enjoy these delightful and sincere storytellers!

Visit the website and watch the videos and request the booklet you will find offered there!

And now… on to the stories!

Dr. Mitch Glaser

President of Chosen People Ministries
(and one of the storytellers!)

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Preparing for Passover

We are getting ready for Passover! The holiday begins on Friday, but preparations are moving full steam ahead.

During Passover, the Jewish community refrains from eating leaven and eat what is known as matzah during the eight day holiday, as Moses and the nation of Israel fled Egypt in haste, not having time for our bread to rise and so we eat unleavened bread as a reminder of our leaving Egypt in haste.

Matzah

Matzah (unleavened bread) is eaten during Passover

For seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a foreigner or a native of the land. You shall not eat anything leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread (Ex 12:19-20).

As the Jewish community prepares for Passover, each family removes leaven from the home and stores – especially in heavily Jewish areas remove leavened products from their shelves. Then, during a ceremony called Bedikat Chametz, immediately before the first night of Passover and the first Passover Seder, we conduct a final search for leaven throughout the house, gather it together and throws it all out or burn it, symbolizing the house is purified or kosher for Passover.

Paul uses this understanding of the Jewish practice as the background to his statement in1 Corinthians 5:6-8.

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Messiah our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

The community of Corinth evidently demonstrated a tolerance for gross immorality. Paul compares sin to leaven and commands the congregation at Corinth to clean out the sin from their midst in the same way the Jewish community removes leaven from their homes during Passover. Just as leaven permeates an entire lump of dough, sinful behavior affects the entire life of an individual and congregation. If the congregation at Corinth did not deal with the wicked behavior in their midst, then this behavior would defile the entire community.

When my wife makes challah, the traditional Jewish Festival bread, she puts a small amount of yeast into the dough. This small amount of yeast makes the entire loaf of challah leavened. In the same way, sin affects the entire life of a person. We cannot compartmentalize our lives and isolate sin to a particular area. Sin in one area affects all areas of our lives. We deceive ourselves when we think the small or hidden sins in our lives will not creep it’s way into our entire soul. Even the small and hidden sins will permeate and corrode our entire being.

When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long.

For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide;

I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:3-5)

Therefore, we should pursue righteousness, since our Messiah has removed the chametz, leaven, from our lives. Rabbi Saul (the Apostle Paul) describes those with leavened lives as depraved and wicked, but reminds his readers that those who are pure in motives and upright in character behave as if they are without leaven. The person free from leaven does not have a hidden or secret life. The preparation for Passover reminds us of the unrighteous behaviors we tolerate in our lives. If we tolerate immoral thoughts or actions, they will begin to affect our spiritual lives and ultimately destroy our soul.

We only deceive ourselves if we think that what we look at on the Internet, watch on television or do when others are not watching will not have any affect upon our spiritual life. We simply cannot behave badly towards our spouse or children, be dishonest in business or mean to at work if we are serious about honoring God. If we are going to have a healthy spiritual life we cannot tolerate our hidden and secret sins…the ones we only we know about, as the Lord knows them too1

In the spirit of Passover, let’s remove sin from our lives, so that we are kosher for Passover and can experience the joy that only godly obedience, in light of the redemption we have through Yeshua, can bring to our souls.

Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright; For the man of peace will have a posterity. But transgressors will be altogether destroyed; The posterity of the wicked will be cut off.(Psalm 37:37-38)

For more on Passover click on http://tinyurl.com/no7r8l8

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