Today I would like to introduce you to Melissa Zelniker Presser. I have met her through the world of blogging. She is a wife, mother of three and a practicing attorney in the criminal justice field. she also happens to be a Messianic Jew. The story of how she came to Christ can be found here.
Also please take the time to check out her blog at:
Following is a series of questions Melissa answered by e-mail. The questions are in bold print. Her answers are in regular print.
Melissa, you have a heart for the gospel and especially to bring that message to the Jewish people. What do you see as some of the road blocks to getting the gospel message to the Jewish people and how can we as the church and as individuals help remove some of those road blocks?
Jewish people are raised to believe “Jesus” is a bad and dirty word. It is ingrained in our culture. Many Jewish people like me were under the mistaken belief that all Gentiles were Christians. I thought that was just the way things were.
The word “conversion” is a dirty word to Jewish people. My advice to gentile believers, do not use that word at all when sharing the gospel. I always start out by saying I am still Jewish and we serve the same God.
I also believe that gentiles are afraid to share their faith with Jewish people because they are not equipped themselves. Study the scriptures! I think many churches are getting away from scriptural Jesus and have made Jesus what they want Him to be.
Churches need to be intentional about their evangelism to Jewish people. I think it would be great if there were Jewish missionaries available to churches nationwide! The two largest Messianic ministries are –
They have missionaries available that provide that service to the church. But I also think that if a church has Jewish believers as congregants, they are also called to be missionaries to the Jewish people!
What are some of the misconceptions people in the church have about Jewish people?
The biggest one is that they are not searching. Jewish people are inherently spiritual because of their connection to God. There is also a misconception that we shouldn’t preach to Jewish people.
News Flash: The gospel is for everyone including the Jews!
It is the way you witness also that is important. You need to understand Jews culturally and what they believe and think. These days, mainstream Judaism is completely watered down. Rabbis make rules and it seems anything goes. I know so many Jewish people who are literally walking in circles in the desert. You’d be surprised that if you preach the gospel to them after educating yourself how many questions they will have!
Remember Paul tells us in Romans 1:6, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”
What are some things to avoid when talking to a Jewish person and can you give us some examples of what bad interaction would look like?
The biggest one, like I said, is using the word conversion. Also, don’t assume a Jewish person is a religious person, most are not. Most Jews if I had to guess are more cultural Jews – I call them the “bagel and lox generation”. This is a post I wrote awhile back that adds some humor to the subject but is informative:
Why is it important to understand someone’s culture before we share the gospel with them?
I learned as an attorney representing criminal defendants that it became very useful to speak their language. Being in South Florida, we have a large population of Spanish speakers. Lucky for me I was prepared as I have studied Spanish for many years. I found that defendants opened up to me once I spoke their language. At least once a week I had someone cry, telling me how happy they were that someone understood them. The same is true of the gospel. It is important to speak the cultural or native language of the person you are witnessing to. People value and will listen to someone that took the time to understand them. That makes them feel special, safe and loved.
What is the most important thing for us to communicate to someone (Jew or Gentile) that needs Christ?
That they are loved. Actions speak louder than words. Christ called us to love the unlovable. That person at work that you hate, the boss that you can’t stand and the neighbor that curses you. Bless them and pray for them all. That is a true disciple, one that lives out the gospel every day and backs up their words with actions.
Melissa, is there anything else you would like to add?
I pray that these words fall on good soil. I pray that they move you and do a work in your heart. I thank Jesus for the words and opportunity to be His witness!
Thank you for stopping by today and being willing to answer my questions. Don’t forget to stop by Melissa’s blog that I have listed above.