It was a warm summer day in the early afternoon when Brooklyn staff member, Toby, was doing street evangelism. To get the conversations started, he wrote on a whiteboard: “Who is Jesus?” Some of the answers included: “Good teacher; Prophet; Lunatic; Messiah.” A young Orthodox Jewish man approached him and started to ask questions. Yosef* had never read the New Testament and did not know much about Jesus at all. Toby started to give a brief overview of the New Testament and who Jesus is when he was interrupted by Yosef, who said, “I am Jewish, and Jewish people don’t believe in Jesus.” Toby said, “I am Jewish too and I believe in Jesus.” Yosef had a confused look on his face and said to Toby that believing in Jesus makes him an idolater, since Jesus is just a man.
Toby asked him, “If Jesus was more than a man, if He was God too, would that still make me an idolater?” Yosef responded by saying that God cannot take on the form of man. Toby then brought up various passages in the Old Testament that speak of God walking in the Garden of Eden, or God eating a meal with Abraham, to which Yosef responded by saying those are metaphors. Toby then shared with him Genesis 32 where Jacob wrestled with a man and the man changed Jacob’s name to Israel. Later on, in that same chapter, Jacob says, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.” Toby told Yosef, “It seems to me that this passage is more than a metaphor, and that Jacob literally wrestled with God.” Yosef responded by saying that he is going to look into this some more. They exchanged information and he even took a New Testament. He said, “If my father knew I was talking with you, I would be in a lot of trouble.” Please pray for Yosef.