Note: In January 2011 my wife and I went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This post is part of a series of blogs I have written to convey what I learned while on this life changing trip. You can read about the entire trip in the devotional book Touching the Footprints of Jesus.
The couple then led us in a time of worship. They sang many of the common worship choruses that are popular around the world right now. But they sang them in both English and Hebrew. Listening to someone praising the Lord in His native tongue was deeply moving. The couple shared how they invite people to their home and share a simple meal with them. In the process of sharing a meal, they also share their faith that Jesus is the Messiah. It was such a simple and yet profound ministry concept.
I was fascinated to hear how they had to avoid certain cultural taboos while still remaining faithful to the truth of the Bible. They had spent a great deal of time thinking through how to share the Gospel in a way that their fellow Jews would be able to understand it. It was a great example of the importance of the contextualization of the Gospel without abandoning the Gospel. For example, they prefer to use the term “Messiah” instead of “Christ.” It is not that they do not like the word “Christ,” but it is simply that the Jews are not looking for a “Christ.” The Jews are looking for a Messiah that will redeem them from their sin. Therefore, this couple uses the word “Messiah” instead of the word “Christ.” The meaning is the same, but the cultural trappings make it an easier word to use in a non-Christian culture.
As the United States moves farther and farther away from a Christian cultural influence, those of us who labor to share the Gospel can take a lesson from these dear servants of the Lord in Israel. We must ask the Lord to show us how to share the never changing message of the Gospel in ways that our non-Christian culture in America can understand. As we learn to be faithful to the Gospel while communicating that Gospel in a way that others can understand, we will have the joy of seeing God draw many people to Himself through our witnessing efforts.