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Overcoming the Barrier

Words of Faith Final

Overcoming the Barrier
Words of Faith 10-20-2021
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2021
Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
www.faithfellowshipweb.com
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Romans 10
    [16] But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?" [17] Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
    [18] But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: "Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."
    [19] Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, "I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding."
    [20] And Isaiah boldly says, "I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me."
    [21] But concerning Israel he says, "All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people."
 
     Paul was frustrated.  Many of his Jewish brothers had rejected their own Messiah.  The prophecy of Isaiah had predicted this.  There were those of Israel who had heard but still had no faith even though faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.  
     Even Moses had said:  "I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding."  That was the plight of those among Israel who had rejected Jesus as Messiah.  "I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me." "All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people."  The situation was tragic.
     The situation today is similar and yet different.  Jews today have not met and rejected Jesus like those in Jerusalem did 2000 years ago.  In fact, most Jews today have no idea who Jesus was and is. The Jesus "rejected" by many Jews is a horribly distorted image. Who has created this distortion?  Mostly "the church."  
    The Jesus presented to Judaism over the past twenty centuries has apparently been willing to tolerate Jewish persecution at the least and instigate it at the worst.  Some of the worst crimes in history were either committed or justified in the name of Jesus. It is little wonder that modern Jews, observant or secular, want to have little to do with the person we call Christ.  
     How can we change that picture?  Jewish believers in Jesus as Messiah will have some success witnessing to Jewish people because of their common ground and heritage, but even this is difficult.  But it is exceedingly difficult for a gentile Christian to talk with a Jewish person about Jesus. There is a barrier that goes up almost immediately. The path must be made through a lifestyle of evangelism-- faith that becomes Gospel.  
     The only real glimpse of Jesus that a Jewish person will get today is interacting with you, a believer. The only way that Jesus can break through is by relationship. When the fruit of the Holy Spirit is evident in your life, and when the Spirit of Jesus speaks through you with love, mercy, and respect, there is hope.  Where there is hope, there may one day be an opportunity to give the reason for the hope that is in you.  
    The truth is that the Jesus most Jews have "rejected" is a false image that we must erase by our lifestyle and behavior.  The genuine Jesus desires to get to know His Jewish brothers and people.  First, we love.  Later the opportunity to speak may come. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ that is in us.
     Does that mean we should avoid verbal witness or direct efforts to evangelize? A friend who is a Messianic rabbi once told me that the most anti-Semitic thing I could do would be to withhold the Gospel from a Jewish person. That statement left me re-thinking some of the so-called cautions I had grown to practice.  
    We must always be prepared and ready to give the reason for the hope that is in us.  We must always be ready to give witness to the life-giving nature of Jesus.  We must listen, build relationship, and earn the right to be heard.  But we also must speak the Word.

         Lord, let me somehow get out of the way so that You may be seen in me, especially in my encounters with Your Jewish people.  Give me grace to listen, compassion to understand, and courage to speak. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2021
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)        
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2021 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.