Authentic Christians Love the Jewish People

President's Prayer Letter, July 2015

 

Dear friend in the Messiah,

Some years ago, my wife and I took our first trip to the Auschwitz/Birkenau death camp in Poland. This was especially hard for me because I grew up in a Jewish family which had lost many relatives who perished in the Holocaust.

As you can imagine, Jewish baby boomers growing up in the post-Holocaust Jewish community in New York City have complicated feelings about Germany, even today. In fact, I still remember the first time I flew into Berlin, where we have a fruitful and growing work among Russian-Jewish immigrants to Germany, after I had become president of Chosen People Ministries. My palms were sweating and when I arrived at the Tegel Airport in Berlin and heard the announcements in German over the public address system at the airport—I panicked! I knew it was an irrational response, but I simply couldn’t help it. 

But nothing compares to the experience I had walking through the various displays at Auschwitz. One moment that I will never forget was when I was looking through the glass wall at the array of suitcases the Nazis had collected and noticed there were some names written on them. I slowly walked along the display looking at the various suitcases, thinking about the people to whom the suitcases belonged who were slaughtered by the Nazis, when I came face-to-face with a bright red suitcase with the name “GLASER” written across it.

It took my breath away!

Glaser is not the most common Jewish last name, but there are quite a few of us scattered around the world. I have no idea whether or not the suitcase belonged to a relative, but I can tell you in that one moment I felt the full horror, terror and hopelessness of centuries of vicious antisemitism. I stood there with my wife and two friends (co-workers who lead Chosen People Ministries in Australia) stunned and speechless, and I simply could not move.

As the shock began to subside, the questions began flooding my soul and I couldn’t help but question God and ask, “Why?” How could this possibly happen to any group of people, let alone “Your chosen people?”

It is hard to stare this level of sinful inhumanity in the face without having your heart ripped apart. I began shedding tears of grief, not only for the people…my people, who suffered, but because of the depth of cruelty evident before me.

After a few moments, the doubts and anger began to dissipate and instead, in that one profound moment, I felt I better understood the crucifixion than at any other time in my life. Instead of being angry at God for allowing the Holocaust to happen, I began to understand what it may have been like for God, who created a beautiful and perfect world, to watch the men and women He created choose sin over righteousness, the devil over God Himself and cruelty over kindness.

 

I began to understand that Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, paid the ultimate penalty of death and separation from His Father because the penalty needed to match the horror of the sin. I better understood why Jesus stood over the grave of Lazarus and wept. The Savior was in mourning for the perfect world He created which had crumbled under the weight of sin and depravity.

As a Jewish person, I was raised to believe that Christians persecuted the Jews. I had believed that Christians inspired the Holocaust and that Jesus Himself was personally responsible for the death of six million Jews. Of course, at the moment I stood before the “Glaser” suitcase I had been a believer for 40 years. 
I certainly knew by then the difference between a real and a nominal Christian. I knew what the Bible teaches about God’s incredible love for the Jewish people. And, of course, I realized that Jesus Himself was Jewish. But, it was hard to control the thoughts and emotions that flooded my soul during this very dark moment.

But, the darkness gradually passed as the Lord brought to my mind passages of Scripture that spoke of His grace, mercy and love towards the Jewish people and for all of sinful humanity.

One of the passages that I find most comforting when I think of the depth of our sin is found in Psalm 130,

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared (Ps. 130:3-4).

You see, in understanding the depth of our sin, we better appreciate the mystery of forgiveness and the grace and mercy of God revealed at the cross.  Even in the darkest moment of sin and depravity there is hope because God is faithful and never forgets His promises.   

Can a Suitcase Change Your Life?

Can a suitcase change your life? Sometimes it can!  

My wife and I have just returned from the first Chosen People Ministries Holocaust Memorial Tour, where we traveled with 35 fellow believers to Berlin and then to Warsaw, Kraków and Auschwitz/Birkenau. 
I wanted others to have an experience like mine because it was life-changing. Certainly, a trip like this helps us better understand why Jewish people reject Jesus. Walking the remaining walls of the Warsaw ghetto and standing in front of the railroad tracks that at one time served as a pathway to destruction can be transforming. 

There is no doubt in my mind that everyone who came on this trip will be forever more sensitive to Jewish resistance towards Jesus. Because of this, we will continue to be loving, sensitive and understanding as we try to explain that the Gospel is Good News for the Jewish people.

Antisemitism Is On the Rise

This is especially true as we see antisemitism on the rise today in Europe and on campuses throughout the United States. As followers of the Jewish Jesus, we must stand up and protest against the ways in which God’s chosen people are being treated. We need to parse through the difference between political disagreements regarding Israel and the intensifying influence of jihadist antisemitism that permeates Europe and the Middle East, and that has begun to encroach on American soil. It is our duty as loving Christians to denounce antisemitism as hatred of God’s chosen people and tantamount to the hatred of God Himself. 

 

I know most Christians love my people and believe antisemitism is sin, but the level of support for bringing the Gospel to Jewish people is trending down. I wonder if this general anti-Jewish climate is impacting the church. I hope not! This is why your encouragement, prayers and support mean so much to us! 

I hope you now have a more complete understanding of some of the challenges we face in reaching Jewish people for Jesus.  We deeply appreciate your support for our missionaries serving among the Jewish people in some very tough spots like Brooklyn, Tel Aviv, Moscow and France.  

Dear friend, let’s not be silent about the Gospel and let’s not be silent about God’s everlasting love for the Jewish people.

We need $150,000 to help our missionaries who are falling short of their support goals. They need our help! Would you pray about giving a generous gift today? 

Thank you for showing through your actions that authentic Christians love the Jewish people. 

Thanks for caring,

Mitch

P.S. We are taking a trip to Israel this October, where we will both walk where Jesus walked and meet the staff of Chosen People Ministries in Israel who are faithfully serving the Lord in reaching the Jewish people. Please contact Rich Freeman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

 

Charles Feinberg Center

The Charles L. Feinberg Center for Messianic Jewish Studies program offers an accredited Master of Divinity degree in Messianic Jewish Studies. 

Learn More »

 




Camp Kesher - July 5-12, 2015

When former campers become the counselors and directors of a camp, you know it is a great camp! That is exactly what has happened at Camp Kesher in Honey Brook, PA.Kesher is the Hebrew word for "connection" and that's what Camp Kesher is all about: Connecting youth to Yeshua, each other, and the larger Messianic community.

Learn More and Register »

 

Camp Sar Shalom - July 26-31, 2015

Attending camp is one of the most formative experiences a young person can have.They get to experience the Lord and fellowship away from their families and any expectation of what they should believe.  They have the opportunity to make decisions for themselves in a safe environment where they see their peers and counselors genuinely loving and interacting with the Lord. The Gospel is clearly shared and Yeshua is exalted.

Learn More and Register »

  

 






 
 

 

 

 

Receive the latest news:


Partner with us:

Give a gift to support Jewish evangelism


Ways to pray for our ministry:

Pray for Chosen People Ministries


President's Blog: