Questions in a Waiting Room

By Fred Klett

You are some kind of minister, right?  Are you one of the kind that tries to get Jews to believe in Jesus?  

Recently I was sitting in a doctor's waiting area talking with a fellow I had gotten to know.  We see each other every two weeks or so.  He surprised me with the questions above, especially since the only information he had about me was that I am a Presbyterian minister and that I know a lot about Judaism!  I was trying to be very low key.  I wasn't wearing any special t-shirt, button, etc.  I was dressed normally and hadn't revealed very much at all about who I am.  He sure pegged me quickly!  He told me he is Jewish and that he had a Bar Mitzvah when he was thirteen.

I told him how I go to churches and put on special programs on the Jewish holidays to educate Christians about Jewish customs and that I also teach pastors in seminaries.  Jewish people are usually very happy to hear about this, since there has been so much Christian ignorance in past ages.  I then explained that I also try to encourage Jewish people to consider the claims of Jesus and to trust in him.

This prompted his second question:

Since you put on Jewish holiday programs for churches, what in the world would motivate you to try and get Jewish people to practice another religion?

I perceived he thought of Jews becoming Christians means giving up Passover and Hanukkah and instead celebrating Easter and Christmas.  Since I do Passover Seders for churches, why would I try and get Jews to stop having Passover Seders and to celebrate "Christian" holidays? What would be the point?

I explained to him that it isn't a matter of Christmas and Easter instead of Hanukkah and Passover.  These things are not important at all and that is not what I am trying to do.  I explained to him that according to the New Covenant God sent the Messiah to provide payment for sin and that it is only through Jesus that we can be forgiven --otherwise we are on our own to pay for our sins and we have all sinned.  If God in his love has provided a way back to him and this is the only way to be forgiven, then it is natural that I should want all people to believe.  To leave out the Jewish people, from our point of view, would be anti-Semitic.

I told him about the Day of Atonement and how sin was paid for in Temple times by the substitutionary sacrifice of a lamb or goat.  I also told him about the blood on the door at Passover, which he was more familiar with.  I explained that all those sacrifices were symbolic of what the Messiah would come to do.  

I mentioned that the Jewish prophet Isaiah foretold Messiah would come to die for our sins and that Jeremiah foretold that God would make a New Covenant with Israel.  I said it is my desire to have Jewish people consider these things, see if they make sense, and then believe in Jesus.

He then asked:

So you you don't want Jewish people to convert, you just want them to accept Jesus?

I explained that we have different definitions of the word convert.  To Jewish people it means give up being Jewish and change your religion to Christianity.  To Christians it means an internal change of heart, turning from our sins and turning to God in faith.

He then said:

I know you aren't one of those guys, but I've had people approach me in malls and airports, like the Moonies and Hare Krishnas.  They always say come with me to someplace.  I think they brainwash people into believing.  Do you think people can be brainwashed into believing some religion?

 I told him that I came to believe after becoming intellectually convinced that the Messiah actually rose from the dead.  I had been an atheist at one time, myself.  Real faith is a heart transaction between an individual and God.  You can't brainwash anyone into that.  What I try to do is to encourage Jewish people to read the New Covenant and other literature and see if it makes sense.  At that point my friend had to go, but I will probably see him again in a couple of weeks. I plan to give him something to read when we meet again.  Please pray for Scott.  May God work powerfully in his life!  I wasn't even trying to witness to him.  I was just sitting in the waiting room being low key, but God had something else in mind!  

We are all really sitting in a waiting room, aren't we?  Sooner or later we will all be called in to see the One with whom we all have an appointment --whether we know it or not --whether we want to or not.  We will all one day be called to meet our maker.  As you sit in the waiting room for eternity, will you share the message of the Messiah with those around you as God brings the opportunity?

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