How Should I Witness to a Jew Who Rejects Jesus?
The following is an edited transcript of the audio.
How should I witness to a Jew who rejects Jesus?
If they are uncomfortable with your translation of the Scriptures then let them choose the version of the Old Testament (or, as they say, the Tanach) that they are willing to use. Then take it home, look up Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and other prophesies, and see what they say.
My guess is that they will read something very close to, "He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and by his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:5-6).
Then you can return and say, "You know, it looks like throughout your Bible there was a Promised One coming who would bear the sins of the people. I want to commend to you that Jesus Christ did that. Are you waiting for another?"
You could also read parts of their scriptures that talk about the need for forgiveness and the fact that a Messiah is coming who will bear the sins of his people, and see if they would be open to that interpretation. Then talk about the gospel in relationship to those prophesies.
Stress over and over again that when we meet God he is going to be absolutely righteous and absolutely just, and our good deeds will never suffice to save us from judgment: "If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared" (Psalm 130:3-4).
Then ask them, "What is that forgiveness based on? Why would there have been a whole series of animal sacrifices if no sacrifice were necessary for the forgiveness of sins. And if sacrifice is necessary for the forgiveness of sins, whose sacrifice can cover all of my sins?"
Answer: "Christ bore our sins in his body on the cross that we might die to sin and live to righteousness" (1 Peter 2:24).
So just tell the story over and over again, as often as they'll listen.
Should you stop sharing the Scriptures if it offends them?
Absolutely not. If they say, "Be quiet and don't talk to me anymore," then you should probably stop talking to them. But if they are just offended then you should keep on seeking to speak with them in a way that would be least offensive. You would not do that by changing the content of your message but by having a demeanor that communicates as much love as possible.
Some people think that we don't need to evangelize Jews because they will still be saved by the old covenant. Is that true?
No. The notion that we don't need to evangelize Jews because there remain two distinct covenants—a Jewish covenant and a Christian covenant—is simply unbiblical. The New Testament pictures the old covenant as coming to its climax and consummation in Jesus Christ.
The new covenant, described in Jeremiah 31 and in Ezekiel 11 and 36, is fulfilled when Jesus says, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me" (1 Corinthians 11:25). He is saying that his shed blood is the fulfillment of that promise. He is saying, "If they don't have me they don't have life. If they don't have me they don't have forgiveness."
"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him" (John 3:36).
In order to maintain that Jews don't have to believe in Jesus in order to be saved you have to simply reject significant parts of the New Testament. The Gospel of John and the Epistles of John are crystal clear that if you don't have the Son—if you don't embrace Jesus Christ—then you don't have life.
What should you do if your pastor believes that Jews don't need to hear about Jesus?
That's a pretty serious wrong belief, and I don't think you should stay in a church that believes that.
That is so serious. To say that you don't have to believe in Jesus to be saved is to deny the gospel, and that's as serious as it gets. Therefore I don't think a person should stay in that kind of church.
However, the question then becomes, "How do you leave?" And there is a right and a wrong way to move from one church to another.
The right way is to be open, humble, and forthright with your pastor. You could go to him and say, "I don't think you're right when you say that a Jewish person doesn't need to believe in Jesus in order to be saved. Because the Bible makes it so clear in John 3:36 that if you don't believe in Jesus the wrath of God remains on you."
You might be able to persuade your pastor and help him understand where you are coming from. But if things don't change then you should tell him that you believe you should find a church that thinks the gospel is necessary for everyone.