Conversing With a Jewish Man

Last week I found myself in New Haven, Connecticut, home to Yale University. One day while walking downtown, I was approached by a man who asked me a very simple question – “Are you Jewish?” I responded, “No I’m not.” And that was pretty much the end of our brief encounter. I kept on walking but before too long, curiosity got the better of me. Why did he ask me that, I wondered? Do I look Jewish? I turned around and headed back. I needed some answers.

DS: Excuse me sir, why did you want to know if I was Jewish?

JM (Jewish man): Well, if you had said yes, I would have told you a little about your faith.

DS: Let’s just say, for fun, I had told you I was Jewish, what would have told me about Judaism?

JM: I would have told you that you need to keep the law.

DS: The 10 Commandments?

JM: Actually, we have 613 laws that we are to keep.

DS: Do you know all 613 laws by heart?

JM: Hesitates to answer

DS: What if I told you that I’m a bad guy who thinks bad thoughts, says bad things, and sins every day.

JM: I would say you need to try harder and do a better job of keeping the law.

DS: Yes, but how do I know when I’m “good enough” at keeping the law?

I finally told him that I was a Christian. I told him that I (and everyone else) need a Mediator who has already fulfilled the demands of the law of God because no matter how hard I tried I could never fully keep the law. I told him that it’s only through faith in Jesus Christ and His perfect sacrifice that a person can be forgiven of their sins and accepted before God. Not surprisingly, he told me that he did not accept the New Testament teachings about Jesus.

For a couple more minutes, I shared the gospel with him and did my best to show him that Jesus is the Messiah, and that salvation is only through Him (John 14:6, 1 Timothy 2:5). As I shared, he was very quiet and it became clear that he did not want the conversation to continue, so we parted ways.

This dialogue did not at all surprise me. This man was not a Messianic Jew and therefore, rejects Jesus as the Son of God and the path to salvation. So our conversation did not surprise me but it did remind me that it’s all about Jesus. The most important question in the world is – what do you believe about Jesus? Do you accept Him as God’s provision for man’s need or do you reject Him? I can only hope and pray that this Jewish man will come to saving faith and see his need for Jesus, but he must understand that his acceptance before God is not through his own ability to keep the law.

As you well know, it’s not just Jews who reject Jesus. I often encounter people who are ok with God, but they have a problem with Jesus. But the Bible tells us there is no other way. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Friends, it’s all about Jesus. You can’t be “ok with God” and still reject His Son. Jesus said, “everyone who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before me, I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33).

It’s all about Jesus.

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