Understanding the Jewish Perspective

Why Don’t Jews Accept Jesus?

Christians ground their faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Other world religions deny Jesus’ deity, calling Him a good teacher or a prophet. The Jews look forward to a coming savior, but do no see Jesus as their messiah. In this two-part post, David Helm, pastor of the Hyde Park congregation of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago, and Peter Cha, Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, walk through why Jewish people do not accept Jesus as their messiah and how Christians can best minister to them. In this first section, David Helm outlines why Jews don't believe Jesus is their savior.  

Being Jewish is as much a cultural identity as a religious one. Many Jews believe to become Christian would mean rejecting their cultural heritage. 

What did David mean when he said if a Jew became an atheist, he would still be a Jew, but if he became a Christian, he would lose his cultural identity as a Jew? Do you agree? Why or why not?
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How do Jesus’ teachings from the Sermon on the Mount challenge Jewish beliefs? Why might these claims be difficult for Jewish people to embrace?
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How could empathizing and understanding the Jewish perspective change the way you interact with your Jewish friends? Even if you don’t know any Jews, how could understanding an unbeliever’s point of view shape the way you talk with him or her about Jesus?
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It’s important to understand the Jewish perspective on Jesus because it informs how we present the gospel to them. As you go abut your week, learn more about what the Jewish people think about Jesus. Use that knowledge to love your friends well. 

How Can We Minister to Jews?

Since Jews don’t think Jesus is their savior, what should Christians have in mind when they share the gospel with their Jewish friends? The last section with David Helm looked at why the Jews refuse to accept Jesus as messiah. In this section, Peter Cha shares his experience sharing the gospel with Jewish students and the barriers he encountered during his ministry. 

Peter listed three obstacles to sharing the gospel with Jewish people:

  1. Widespread perception of Christians as Anti-Semitic
  2. Cultural pressure
  3. Spiritual pride 

What do each of these three obstacles mean? How do they pose a problem?
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Do you have any Jewish friends? If so, what is their perception of Christianity and Jesus? Can you relate to the barriers Peter listed? If so, which ones?
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Peter said his experience ministering to Jewish students drove him to prayer. One of the best things we can do for our friends who don’t know Jesus is pray for them. 

How could you specifically pray for your friends and family who are not saved this week? If you have Jewish friends, what could you do to share the gospel with them in the next few days?
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Pray for your lost friends this week. Ask God for wisdom and specific opportunities as you talk with them about Jesus and salvation. Pray for any Jewish people in your life who don’t know Christ. Pray they would encounter their true Savior. 

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