As surprising as it may seem, most Jewish people know very little truth about God, the Bible, and especially the most important Jew of all time: Yeshua. Much of what is taught in Judaism is filtered through extra-biblical, rabbinical writings, as well as centuries of Jewish philosophy and tradition. And sadly, where Yeshua is concerned, misinformation and denial is the norm.
So when it comes to sharing Yeshua with our Jewish neighbors, family and friends, we can’t assume that they have any standard frame of reference. Every Jewish person is different, just like every other human being. Despite any unity or commonalities shared as a people-group, Jews don’t all hold the same beliefs about Judaism, much less about God. In fact, your Jewish friends and family are increasingly as likely to not believe in God as to believe. And this starting point dramatically affects how you tell them about Yeshua.
But no matter what any Jewish person does or doesn’t believe, what they’re highly unlikely to actually know is the truth about Jesus—especially that He is a Jew named Yeshua. So here are some biblical facts you can share with any Jewish person to begin to break the ice, and to show them just how Jewish believing in Yeshua can be.
#1 – Yeshua Is a Jew
It may seem obvious to us, but not everyone knows that Yeshua is Jewish. He was born into a first-century Jewish household, with a geneological line going through David and Abraham (Matthew 1:1). As a man, He clearly identified Himself as a Jew, having come to “His own people” (John 1:11), and considered Himself part of the larger Jewish community (John 4:22). It was even His custom to participate in the Jewish culture of His day (Luke 4:16).
#2 – Yeshua Kept and Taught the Torah
The Torah of Moses is Israel’s national constitution and founding document for Jewish faith and practice. As Jews, Yeshua’s parents raised Him in a Torah-keeping home, having done “all the things according to the Torah” (Luke 2:39). As a teacher, Yeshua often expounded on the practical application of the Torah (Mark 10:19), and esteemed the Jewish Scriptures as an unmatched, unbreakable standard (John 10:35). Far from abolishing the bedrock writings of His faith, Yeshua championed the Torah and all the Hebrew Scriptures, stating unambiguously,
“[I did not come] to throw down the Torah… but to fulfill.… [U]ntil the time that the heaven and the earth pass away, not one… stroke will pass away from the Torah…. Whoever, therefore, unbinds one of these commands… and teaches men to do so, he will be called least in the Reign” (Matthew 5:17-19, mjlt).
As a Torah-keeper, Yeshua observed the biblical feasts—including Passover and Sukot—and was often found teaching in the Temple (Matthew 26:17ff, John 7:14).
#3 – All of Yeshua’s Disciples Were Jews
During Yeshua’s lifetime, all His disciples were Jewish, believing Him to be Israel’s Messiah as written of in Moses and the Prophets. One such disciple is even characterized as being “truly a Yis’r’eliy”—a true Israelite (John 1:47).
For the entire first ten years following Yeshua’s resurrection, the believers remained nearly exclusively Jewish. Within two more decades, Yeshua’s Jewish followers came to number literally in the “tens of thousands,” and all of them continued in the Jewish faith, being “zealous for the Torah” (Acts 21:20).
#4 – Yeshua Ministered Only to Jews (Almost)
For the whole three years or so of Yeshua’s earthly ministry, He taught and healed and ministered explicitly and almost exclusively to Jews. Though Yeshua acknowledged a future time when Gentile believers would also follow Him (John 10:16), He nevertheless categorically stated that His God-given, immediate mission was not to non-Jews, declaring, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Yis’rael [Israel]” (Matthew 15:24).
#5 – Paul Didn’t Start Christianity
And finally, a lot of credit and blame for starting the Christian religion—none of which is deserved—is given to Paul. His role as an apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13) in no way compromised his allegiance to either his people (Romans 10:1) or to the faith of his fathers. As a believer in Yeshua, Paul continued to make sacrifices at the Temple (Acts 21:21ff), and is recorded as rushing to Jerusalem to keep the Feast (Acts 20:16). Paul also often revealed his devotion to the Torah, writing unequivocally in Romans 3:31, “Do we then make Torah useless through the faith? Let it not be! Rather, we make Torah stand.”
So when sharing Yeshua, a perfect place to start is with the truth that neither Yeshua, nor Paul, nor tens of thousands of Jews abandoned their Jewishness or joined a new religion. Instead, they obeyed the God of Israel, kept the Torah, and fulfilled the faith of the Jewish Bible through Israel’s one and only true Messiah: the eternally Jewish Yeshua.