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Current Concerns of Jewish People
If you speak with two or three of your Jewish friends, you will find that they hold many similar concerns:
The survival of their people in light of the growing roots of anti-Semitism
Issues surrounding the state of Israel in the heat of political turmoil and battles that rage in the Middle East
Declining numbers of Jewish people, in light of intermarriage and children moving away from religious lifestyles
Social concerns, including disease and oppression throughout the world
Once you learn your Jewish friends’ concerns, you can speak about those in order to build and maintain the relationships that are so vital in clearly communicating the message of Messiah. But mere understanding of a person’s concerns is not enough. Find innovative ways in which you can help to work towards diminishing their concerns, perhaps standing up against anti-Semitism, or standing in support of the people of Israel.
Many non-Jewish people today feel that Zionism, or the desire to see the state of Israel in existence, needs to be lessened in importance or eliminated altogether. Yet Jewish people have a strong fervor and desire to see the state of Israel exist in a state of peace and harmony. They feel very strongly that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob deeded this territory to Israel as part and parcel of the covenant God established with His people. These covenant rights to that piece of geography are still in existence today.
Support for the state of Israel does not necessarily mean whole-hearted support for a political government in leadership at any given time. Yet with many disagreements Jewish people have over the various issues, they stand together with a unifying cry, Am Y’srael Chai! (Israel must live!)
Regardless of what we might think about politics, policies, governments and rulers within Israel, you should understand that the existence of the land of Israel lies at the heart of Jewish people. God has maintained the Jewish people as a unique people on the face of this earth, over many centuries, when by all odds, when dispersed, they should have been assimilated into various cultures.
As Christians, we can and should choose to stand by the Jewish people, to stand by Israel and help to affirm that the Jewish people indeed have a place in God’s plan. Some congregations have even held Israel commemoration days, where offerings have been given for reforestation projects in Israel, or to support people on various Kibbutzim. You are only limited by your imagination and willingness when it comes to affirming the continuity of the Jewish people. You can help to build relationships with them, so that in an honest, sincere relationship, a personal evangelistic dialogue can take place between you and your Jewish friend.
We hope and pray that you will seek to understand the Jewish people’s concerns and needs even more, so that you might be able to tell them of Messiah in a loving, sincere, direct and sensitive way, to speak tenderly to them of their Savior.
Isaiah 40:1-5 says:
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.’
Excerpted from Beginning from Jerusalem by Steve Cohen