Jesus came to his own (John 1:11); His own were the Jewish people, the people of the Covenant, the descendants of Abraham. Paul who wrote so much of the New Testament was a scholarly Jew at the time of Jesus who was zealous for the Jewish faith and tried to stamp out of the Way, the followers of Jesus who he thought was poisoning the faith, until he had an encounter with the Living God, Jesus. Many Jews believed and were saved in the First Century, but many did not. Even today, Jews are coming to faith in Jesus.
Many modern stories are included below, but first is a sort video of some dialogue with Jews in Israel who did not know the stories about Jesus. They listened to the stories and commented on them, not knowing who the stories were about. The results are poignant and interesting:
James Tour grew up just outside of New York City and thought everyone was Jewish, but he had very little interest in faith. Rabbis brushed off his questions. He grew up to be very successful. He was voted one of the top 50 most influential minds in the world. He was a visiting scholar at Harvard University. Has has spoken at every major university in the country. He has over 650 research publications. He was voted the R & D Magazine Scientist of the Year. He is a member of the National Academy of Inventors and the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. Has over 120 patents. He started 7 or 8 companies. But his story is about what means the most to him.
Steve Olin was born in Brooklyn, NY from humble beginnings. He always went synagogue, celebrating all the Jewish holy days. He also threw a 90 mph fastball and had a tryout with the Yankees. His dream was to play baseball, but his father refused to sign the contract, insisting that he go to college. So he did… on a baseball scholarship… where he blew out his arm. From there, he went into the business world and rose very rapidly to success. He made billions. Everything was going for him, but then he started having panic attacks. He couldn’t sleep. He wasn’t happy. He turned to drugs and partying. From age 47 to age 57, he lost everything. He became untouchable, and that led him to cry out to God, and then his life changed.
She was born to a Jewish family. All her descendants and everyone she new was Jewish. All her siblings grew up to be lawyers. He grandmother grew up in the old country and warned her about Christians. One day a book, Rabbi Jesus, caught her attention. She bought it and read it. That led to a chain of circumstances. She met a woman. Her marriage ended. She was alone. The woman she met sent her a book she wrote about her own life story. Then the it all got intimate and personal, and she knew that God was real.
Danny was Jewish from the former Soviet Union. His grandparents were Holocaust Survivors. They came to the US to find better medical care for Danny. He had benign tumors that grew on his larynx that required surgery every three months or so. They cause him to talk in a whisper. He became enthralled with tattoos. He also became an alcoholic and lived a self-destructive lifestyle. That all changed when his best friend had a motorcycle accident. He is an unlikely convert to Christianity. This is his story
Following is one testimony of a Jewish man originally from Kansas who had an encounter with the Living God.
Joel Rosenberg’s father was an orthodox Jew, born to Jewish immigrants from Russia. One day his father announced that he had become convinced that Jesus actually is the Messiah, the savior the Jews had been waiting for. Joel wasn’t immediately convinced, though he watched his parents change before his eyes, and he was “dragged” into a world he had never known before. This is his story.
Kim Goldman grew up an educated, secular Jew. She went to Hebrew school and youth group, because that is what she did in her culture, like eating bagels.
He thought the New Testament was the instruction for Christians on how to persecute Jews. He was shocked to find that Jesus was Jewish. Jesus was the Messiah for the Jews. What he found was beautiful. He came to the believe that the most Jewish thing he could do was to accept Jesus, the Jewish Messiah.
The Kooks grew up Jewish, he in the Bronx, and she in New Jersey. Her father died of a heart attack when she was 7. She prayed at night for God to send her dad back. With no answer, she gave up. He was into sex, drugs and rock and roll. After an orgy one night, he felt disgusted, but he didn’t know why. Soon after, the two of them met at a college dance. He was taken by her. She was attracted by the occult. They did a lot of drugs together and fell in love on an acid trip. They were not likely candidates for religion. But they didn’t find religion; they found the Lord who is their Shepherd.
Jeffrey Seif was raised in a Jewish family, in a Jewish neighborhood, went to a Jewish school and didn’t know that there was anything but Jewish. Still, he pushed away from Judaism on “a quest for discovery”. He ran away home at 16 and hitchhiked to California where he found kindred spirits at Haight Ashbury. He also met Christians there for the first time that were “kind of cool”. When challenged by a Christian with long hair down to his waist about Jesus, he said, “I don’t believe in Jesus. I’m a Jew.” Still, he accepted the challenge. This is his story.
John Dresser was raised in a “very secular” Jewish home. He moved to Washington, DC after college to get involved in politics. His passions in life were politics and classical music. When he heard James Baker, the US Secretary of State, talk about Jesus at a national prayer breakfast, he was taken aback. Then he heard the most famous cellist in the world say similar things. Why would they be talking about Jesus? So he jumped into reading the Bible on how own for the first time ever. He read all the way through the Tanakh, and when he got to Matthew he realized, “That’s our Messiah!”
Sam Nadler was a religious Jew growing up, but he became rebellious as he got older. He was medic in Vietnam and saw the horrors of warfare. He became a drug dealer after the war and encountered a Messianic Jew talking about Jesus on the streets of San Francisco. He was offended, but he went to a Bible study on his invitation. They were reading Isaiah 53, a passage that the Rabbis skip over. It became clear to him that this passage was talking about “you know who” (Jesus). He thought the Christians snuck that passage into the Jewish Bible, but he couldn’t stop thinking about it. This is his story.
When Marty Goetz grew up, 90% of the people he knew were Jewish. His grandmother had an us and them view of Jews and Christians. In college, he became an entertainer. He took a show on the road with his friend, Burt. Then Burt became a born again Christian, and that bothered him immensely. Over time, he got up the courage to read the Bible, and he came to realize that Jesus was Jewish! A friend of Burt’s invited him to a meeting, and that is when things changed.
He grew up in a Jewish neighborhood. He didn’t know anyone who wasn’t Jewish. As a young man, he got into music and drugs, and he left his Jewish roots behind. Life went on. He got married, but drugs and alcohol followed him. Life got so dark for him that he was ready to end his life. He didn’t do it, but he went out of his mind. He yelled for God to help him and take away the pain. In rehab, his counselor urged him to go back to his synagogue. He did it. After 10 years of sobriety and attending synagogue, he became president of the synagogue. That’s when things got interesting. This is his story.
The woman in the following video learned early on never to say the name, Jesus. She became a teacher and taught Hebrew school, but she didn’t feel any connection with God. She would sit in synagogue, and she would try to feel something, to feel God, but she felt nothing. Everything changed when she was hired to edit a book about Jesus. She noticed many things about the Old Testament, and the Bible came alive to her. When she came to Isaiah 53, it all made sense to her.
Anastasia Okhrimenko was raised in the West Bank. She as not sheltered from the harsh reality of war and death. She was terrified of Arabs and Arabic; they reminded her of shootings and death. She recognized a disconnect between the God of the Bible and God as described by the Rabbis. She admired the God of the Bible, but she was angry at the God painted by the rabbis – cold and hard-hearted. Jesus was a stranger, not acknowledged by her Jewish community. She decided to leave religion as she grew up, but she continued to believe in God. The barrier between her and Jesus came down when she read “The Forbidden Chapter”: Isaiah 53. Her life completely changed. One of her first experiences as Christian was to hear a song in Arabic, and layers of hatred and prejudice fell off her in that moment.