Wednesday, February 28, 2018
National Religious Broadcasters Convention Nashville, Tennessee
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peace-makers.”
What does it mean to be a peacemaker?
It means understanding that God is not “either/or.” He’s “both/and.” He loves all people on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and He commands us to do the same.
It means praying and working for calm and quiet and justice and reasonable peace treaties that bless all people in the Middle East.
Above all, it means communicating to every Jewish and Muslim person the good news that Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and the only way to make true and everlasting peace with God – and our fellow man – is to repent of our sins, and receive Jesus as Messiah by faith.
The Gospel is the ultimate Mideast peace strategy. Presidents and Prime Ministers won’t preach it, nor should they. Only we can. And we must, for the fields are ripe for harvest.
In the 1950s, there were fewer than 1,000 Jewish believers worldwide.
Today, there are 871,000 Jewish believers in the U.S. alone – a spiritual earthquake of historic proportions.
In recent years, when asked how many Jewish believers there are, I’ve said the number was “about 300,000.” My source was the 2001 edition of Operation World, a study that endeavored to compile the most accurate statistics of Christ-followers in individual countries, and distinct people groups.
Page 362: “Globally there has been a significant response [to the Gospel] among the [world’s] 15 million Jews; around 132,000 are linked with Messianic congregations and a further 200,000 with Gentile churches. Most of these believers are in North America, and also in Russia-Ukraine and the U.K.”
In other words, eighteen years ago, Operation World reported 332,000 Jewish believers in Jesus worldwide.
Even that number struck many experts as high. Jews For Jesus says on its website that “estimates [of Jewish believers] range from as low as 30,000 to as high as 125,000 worldwide.” Chosen People Ministries says the number is “maybe 200,000.”
But the study we’re releasing today indicates that Americans with Jewish roots are far more receptive – and responsive – to the Gospel than any of us previously thought.
The veil that has covered the eyes of my people for nearly 2,000 years – that has obscured our understanding of Jesus’ true identity – is lifting.
This is deeply encouraging, and it reaffirms that the Gospel message works – it transforms and betters the lives of all people when they receive it, including Jewish people. But first they have to hear it.
This is why the Alliance calls pastors, theologians and believers all over the world to sign the Statement we’ve introduced today, and in so doing to recommit themselves to preaching the Gospel of peace to all people everywhere – including Jews and Muslims – with love and humility and a profound sense of urgency.
Let us say what the Apostle Paul said, that “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of salvation for everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.”