In my neighborhood, there are almost thirty Jewish synagogues. These congregations include Reformed, Orthodox, and Hasidic Judaism. And, of course, our city is full of secular Jews who have long left any traditional form of their faith. So, on any given Sunday, there is a possibility of having a small handful of folks who identify themselves with any of the above Jewish traditions present in our church service.
Just as having divorced individuals present will affect the way you preach a sermon on marriage, having Jews in your service will affect the way you preach the gospel. In fact, it’s likely to make it more biblical.
First of all, like those offended by Paul or Peter’s preaching, you will likely see people offended when you use their Scriptures to show that Jesus is the Messiah and true King of Israel.
I don’t know how you get around that, but the Apostles seemed to expect it, so we should probably expect it as well. After all, the gospel is offensive. However, the Apostles give us examples that keep us from beingmore offensivethan the gospel and help us make explicitwhat is the offenseof the gospel.
So, here are several points to help us in preaching to Jews the gospel from the Old Testament:
Know the Old Testament Well
There is no substitute for knowing the Old Testament. There are no shortcuts here either. In order to understand how the Apostles in the New Testament preached and how we should preach today, we must know the Old Testament. We need to know not only the stories but also how they organically relate to each other. What is the storyline of the Old Testament? What are the themes that run throughout the storyline (for example, Son of God, covenant, God’s presence, land, and so on)? Once you begin to see these things more clearly, you’ll also see the many unresolved tensions in the Old Testament that are just begging to be resolved in Jesus Christ.
Follow Closely and Learn from the Apostles’ Examples in Acts
Luke’s account of the early Apostolic ministry is hugely important. It’s the only substantial account of Apostolic sermons in which Christ is explicitly preached from the Old Testament. Here are three examples:
Peter, after Pentecost, argued that David must have been talking about someone greater than himself when he said inPsalm 16:10, “You will not … let your holy one see corruption” (see Acts 2:25–40).
Stephen, in front of the Sanhedrin, argued that throughout the history of Israel, the people had followed the pattern of rejecting God when He condescended toward, spoke to, and even dwelt with them. Their rejection of His Son was no different (Acts 7:1–53).
Paul, in Antioch, showed that not only was Jesus an offspring of David, but His resurrection fulfilled all the hopes of David’s kingly line promised by God (Acts 13:16–41).
These men weren’t using fanciful hermeneutical magic tricks to make Jesus appear wherever they wanted, but they showed that Jesus fulfilled the hopes and relieved the tensions of the Old Testament, which is the next point.
Show How Jesus Fulfills the Hopes and Relieves the Tensions of the Old Testament
The gospel of Jesus Christ fulfills every hope and relieves every tension in the Old Testament: the hope of the forgiveness of sins and the tensions of an inadequate priesthood; the hope of rest and the tensions of a people never at peace with their enemies; the promise of God dwelling with His people and the tension of a temple-less people.
For example, remember God’s promise to David that he would always have a son on the throne. God said to David in2 Samuel 7:14: “I will be a father to him, and he shall be to me a son.”
AsD. A.Carson has put it, either David would have one son on the throne, who would have another son on the throne, and on and on and on, forever and ever, amen; or, he would have one special Son, who would remain on the throne forever.
If we look at this line of David, we sadly see that his descendants rebelled against God, following other nations and trusting in their false idols. (This was even true of Solomon, the son to whom David first passed on the kingship.) Soon after, the nations collapsed in on Israel, taking them off into slavery and exile, and no king sat on the throne. The promises of God looked to be all but broken. If you read the end of the Old Testament, you can almost hear the laboring cry: “We need a son.”
Of course, the good news is that inLuke 3:22, we find one of whom God says, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Actually, God says the same thing about anyone who submits to His reign and enters into His kingdom.
Though offensive, for Jews—and for all of us—that’s the best news in the world.
The world cannot forget the Holocaust, because it never recur again.
Hitler and many Nazis are die, but the anti-semitism is still alive in this world.
Think about it, and pray for Israel and the Jewish People.
Shalom People! I am very busy in these months and I could not write in my blog, sorry. I am in a moment that many things happened. Please, pray for me and for my family, because we need it. I will continue to support Israel and the Jewish People. If God want, I will back more stronger than before. God blesses us!
Hamas is dramatically weakened, and may even fall.
This is a victory for Israel and a defeat for jihad.
So why would we help Hamas – a designated terrorist organization – recover from this defeat?
Secretary of State Kerry has pledged millions of taxpayer dollars to Gaza, including pledges to a U.N. group that actively cooperated with terrorists.
We know Hamas diverts “humanitarian” aid into terror tunnels, bombs, and rockets. There should be no second chances for Hamas. Stand with us as we work on Capitol Hill and in Jerusalem to make sure that not one dime of your money benefits terrorists.
Days before the recent Israel/Hamas conflict erupted, the Presbyterian Church USA withdrew $21 million worth in investments from Israel because, as spokesman Heath Rada put it, the Israeli government’s actions “harm the Palestinian people.”
Soon after, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and was asked if he was “troubled” by the Presbyterian Church’s move. Netanyahu responded:
It should trouble all people of conscience and morality because it’s so disgraceful. You know, you look at what’s happening in the Middle East and I think most Americans understand this, they see this enormous area riveted by religious hatred, by savagery of unimaginable proportions. Then you come to Israel and you see the one democracy that upholds basic human rights, that guards the rights of all minorities, that protects Christians—Christians are persecuted throughout the Middle East. So most Americans understand that Israel is a beacon of civilization and moderation. You know I would suggest to these Presbyterian organizations to fly to the Middle East, come and see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is, and then take a bus tour, go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq, and see the difference. And I would give them two pieces of advice, one is, make sure it’s an armor plated bus, and second, don’t say that you’re Christians.
It’s difficult—if not impossible—to argue with Netanyahu’s logic. Indeed, several points made in his one-minute response are deserving of some reflection.
First, the obvious: why is it that self-professed Christians completely ignore the horrific Islamic persecution of fellow Christians in the Middle East, while grandstanding against the Jewish state for trying to defend itself against the same ideology that persecutes Christians?
And he is absolutely right to say that the persecution of Christians in the Mideast has reached a point of “savagery of unimaginable proportions.” Perhaps the only thing more shocking than the atrocities Mideast Christians are exposed to—the slaughters, crucifixions, beheadings, torture and rape—is the absolute silence emanating from so-called mainline Protestant churches in the U.S.
Note also the nations Netanyahu highlighted for their brutal persecution of Christian minorities: Libya, Syria, and Iraq. Indigenous Christians were markedly better off in all three nations before the U.S. got involved, specifically be empowering, deliberately or not, Islamist forces. Now, according to recent studies, Christians in all three nations are experiencing the worst form of persecution around the globe:
Syria: Christians have been attacked in indescribable ways—wholesale massacres, bombed and desecrated churches, beheadings, crucifixions, and rampant kidnappings—since the U.S.-sponsored “Arab Spring” reached the Levant.
Iraq: After the U.S. toppled Saddam Hussein, Christian minorities were savagely attacked and slaughtered, and dozens of their churches were bombed (see here for graphic images). In the last decade, Christians have been terrorized into near-extinction, with well over half of them fleeing Iraq.
If the Presbyterian Church has problems with governments that persecute people—in this case, the Israeli government’s purported treatment of Palestinians, hence the Presbyterian Church’s divestment from Israel—perhaps it should begin by criticizing its own government’s proxy war on fellow Christians in the Middle East.
Christians are also being targeted in the P.A. territories—by the very same elements the Presbyterian Church is trying to defend.
More recently, nuns of the Greek-Orthodox monastery in Bethany sent a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urging him to respond to the escalation of attacks on the Christian house, including the throwing of stones, broken glass, theft and looting of the monastery property. “Someone wants to send us away,” wrote Sister Ibraxia in the letter, “but we will not flee.”
Sadly, the hypocrisy exhibited by the Presbyterian Church is not limited to that denomination. Some time back, fifteen leaders from various U.S. Christian denominations—mostly Protestant, including the Lutheran, Methodist, and UCC Churches—asked Congress to reevaluate U.S. military aid to Israel, again, in the context of supporting “persecuted” Palestinians.
Yet nary a word from these same church leaders concerning the rampant persecution of millions of Christians at the hands of Muslims in the Middle East—a persecution that makes the Palestinians’ situation pale in comparison.
Other “leftist” Protestants do find time to criticize Muslim persecution of Christians—but only to blame Israel for it. Thus, Diarmaid MacCulloch, a Fellow of St. Cross College, wrote an article in the Daily Beastostensibly addressing the plight of Mideast Christians—but only to argue that the source of Christian persecution “ in the Middle East is seven decades of unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine.”
In reality, far from prompting the persecution of Christians, the Arab-Israeli conflict is itself a byproduct of the same hostility Islamic supremacism engenders forall non-Muslims. The reason hostility for Israel is much more viral is because the Jewish state holds a unique position of authority over Muslims unlike vulnerable Christian minorities who can be abused at will (as fully explained here).
They know they can count on basic human rights protection from Israel than from many of their fellow Christians in the West. After all, beyond the sophistry, distortions, and downright lies emanating from some of these Christian denominations, the fact remains: both Jews and Christians are under attack from the same foe and for the same reason: they are non-Muslim “infidels” who need to be subjugated
I am Brazilian and American, I am ashamed of being Brazilian and I love Israel UNCONDITIONALLY? Do you proud to be Brazilian?
Brazil condemns Israel for defending themselves against terrorists, but does not condemn countries like Venezuela, which is killing thousands of Venezuelans disarmed and is committing a genocido against its own people.
Who is the Brazil to speak against Israel?
Brazil is nothing compared to Israel.
Brazil has many riches, but the Brazilian people live in poverty.
Brazil is a large territory, but it is a dwarf compared to many countries such as Australia and Japan.