As I sit in Newark Airport waiting for my flight to the Emerald Isle, I thought it might be a good point to reflect on my visit to New York.
It was a joy to conduct worship at Ridgefield Park R.P. Church on the Sabbath, and to attend the Montville Pastors Conference in New Jersey during the week.
The Thursday before, a few of us were given a guided tour of Manhattan: it was while walking around Ground Zero, that the Lord gave us a few evangelistic opportunities.
Some Hasidic Orthodox Jews came up to us with 'Lulai' - the branches they use to commemorate the Feast of Tabernacles, or 'Sukkot'.
Encouraged by the first encounter, I decided to be bold and to seize the initiative - so I looked up Isaiah 53:6 on my Hebrew i-phone app and tried to open up a discussion.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned-- every one-- to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all - Isaiah 53:6 ESV.
כֻּלָּ֙נוּ֙ כַּצֹּ֣אן תָּעִ֔ינוּ אִ֥ישׁ לְדַרְכּ֖וֹ פָּנִ֑ינוּ וַֽיהוָה֙ הִפְגִּ֣יעַ בּ֔וֹ אֵ֖ת עֲוֹ֥ן כֻּלָּֽנוּ׃ - Isaiah 53:6 WTT
Both pairs we spoke to seemed delighted to talk some Hebrew - when I asked them to read the verse they duly obliged and added their own translation.
They were interested to discover that a Gentile could read and discuss the Hebrew text - on both occasions I asked them what the word BOW 'upon Him' meant.
The second man and wife, in particular, seemed to engage. "Well, I'd have to look at the wider context, to see of whom it speaks." I replied, 'It refers to Messiah Jesus!'
I proceeded to point out to both couples that how we interpret 'upon Him' is the key difference between Christians and Jews. All agreed to read and muse some more.
What really surprised me, with a skip of joy as I left, was how open these distant cousins of Christ, according to the flesh, were willing to listen to truth in the text.
I was rebuked for thinking and praying so little for the salvation of the Jews! If we believe the Gospel is God's power to save, winning Jews takes mission precedence!
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith" - Romans 1:16-17 ESV
Jews, like Christians, are sinners. Jews, like Christians, need Christ - in Messiah Jesus is their cherished hope of the resurrection. Only in Him can any be justified!
So, if you happen to live in New York, or the beautiful Garden State, may God stir you up to spare a thought for Jews. Bend your knees for the salvation of some Jews!