SHARING THE LIGHT
IN JERUSALEM
By Eddie Santoro
Radical evangelism means taking the Good News of Yeshua the Messiah out of the congregation and into the community in which we live. We need to see evangelism transformed from a program into an integral part of our daily life. This means a continuous decision to live one's life as the declaration of the Gospel of Yeshua.

Over the past year, many in our congregation (Ahavat Yeshua) have been undergoing this transformation as we are embracing the truth that we are truly the light in Israel in the midst of so much darkness. This is an un-reached country. Unlike some nations where many have already heard the Gospel message, Israelis have grown up without hearing the message of Yeshua. In fact, the only thing that most Israelis have heard about Yeshua is that He is the god of the Gentiles who has been the source of great suffering and persecution in the history of their people.

The Word declares that we are the light of the world. We are to shine like stars as we hold out the words of life to those around us. Recently while reading the scriptures, I was deeply affected by Yeshua's words: "Whoever confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before my Father in heaven." (Matthew 10:32)

The awesome reality of that verse fell upon me. All I have to do is speak the name of Yeshua before men, and Yeshua will run before the Father and speak to Him about me. The decision was fixed in my heart. I was going to tell everyone about Yeshua!

A Hostile Land? ... A People Who Do Not Need To Hear?

Many people who live here are afraid to tell others about Yeshua. Some are under the impression that it is illegal to evangelize in Israel. Others believe that this is a land that hates Yeshua and if they mention His name, they will open themselves up to hate and rejection. It is certainly not illegal to evangelize in Israel. This nation is a democracy, and all its citizens have the right to speak freely. Although there is persecution against believers by the religious (orthodox), the average secular Israeli is open and interested to hear the Gospel message.

An incorrect teaching gaining favor in these days is the belief that the Jewish people do not need to receive the Gospel because they are saved on the basis of the Abrahamic Covenant. Another false teaching suggests that we should simply wait for a special time in the future when the Jewish people will receive Yeshua. Both of these teachings are blatantly incorrect . Yeshua told His Jewish disciples "TO GO" first to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria (Israel), and then to the entire world and be His witnesses, proclaiming His name.

We live in Jerusalem, and we have decided to obey Yeshua's command to be His witness in this city. We have discovered that most Israelis are happy to hear about Yeshua. Each day as we live our lives, going to the supermarket, buying gas or a cup of coffee, the people who interact with us are hearing the good news of Yeshua.

Shimon the Shopkeeper

Shimon is from a family that has lived in Bet Shemesh for generations. He owns a small shop on one of the main streets in this very religious city. Several months ago, Jackie and I entered his shop looking for something for our home. This Israeli man was warm and friendly, and we quickly entered into a conversation. Within minutes I was speaking to him about Yeshua. He was open and interested and we spoke to him for a long time.

Since that initial visit, we have often returned to his shop. When he sees me, he excitedly cries out that "a son of Yeshua" has come to visit him. (Everyone in his shop hears his enthusiastic cry!) He brews a fresh cup of Turkish coffee, and Shimon and I sit at a small table in front of his shop and speak of life, family and Yeshua.

Several days ago while enjoying one of these visits, his wife and three children came by. He introduced Jackie and me to his family as believers in Yeshua, and I have already told Shimon that he and his family will soon be guests at our house for dinner. Shimon is forty years old and before he met us he had never heard of Yeshua. Because of radical obedience "to be the light," eternal seed has been planted within him. We do not know if he will come to faith but we have done our part, and by God's grace there will be a harvest.

Ayal, the Pizza Man

Last month Jackie and I sat in an apartment speaking with several young adults from our congregation. We were hungry and we decided to order pizza. Thirty minutes later, the doorbell rang and the young delivery man arrived with pizzas in hand! I gave him a warm smile and invited him in. Knowing I did not have very much time, I asked him his name and introduced him to the young people sitting in the room. And then, with a few words, this mundane event was transformed into an eternal moment that would last forever. Looking at Ayal, I said: "Ayal, do you want to hear something amazing? All of us sitting here are Messianic Jews! Do you know what that is?"

Eddie on the street 'sharing the light'
Five minutes later he left, not only with a basic knowledge of Yeshua but also with an invitation to attend a young adults evening that we were having in several weeks. Ayal accepted the invitation and brought along two friends. All three experienced their first encounter with a large group of young Israeli believers. They fellowshipped, ate and even participated in a time of worship and praise. The light had penetrated the darkness because one of Yeshua's servants had been willing to take the risk and mention the name that is above every other name to a young man trapped in darkness.

There are hundreds of other examples that I could share with you. Idan works in a furniture store in a mall near Tel Aviv. Jackie and I sat on one of the couches in his store and spoke with him and another coworker about Yeshua. After thirty minutes, Idan said he felt something different coming from us he hadn't felt in all his New Age experiences. He gave us his name, email and phone number, and we have already asked several believing friends who live in his area to be in touch with him.

Gas station attendants, bank clerks, shopkeepers, college students and various people we pick up hitchhiking have all heard the Gospel of Yeshua. As we take His name to the streets of Israel, Yeshua has confessed our names before the Father. The Gospel is breaking out from behind the walls of the "church," and the light is shining in the darkness.

Please join us in this radical assault on the Kingdom of Darkness. The time is now and the day is today. May we join together and boldly proclaim the name of our King. May we use the moments we are given to be His witness and share with a lost world the only name by which a man can be saved!

 

By Eddie Santoro


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Also in this issue of the newsletter:

Dan Juster: Who Can We Trust To Teach Us?
Eitan Shishkoff: The End Is Near! So What?
Marty Shoub: Casting Our Net