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A Day in the Streets

written by Asher Intrater
February 01, 2002

We have a street evangelism team, which goes out once a week. Although many people join in with us there is a core of five men and two women: Simcha, myself, Herzl, Yoel, Serge, Tsippi, and Zina. The tools I use the most are my own three tracts in Hebrew, Sid Roth’s book of a collection of ten Messianic Jewish testimonies, and a little pamphlet in Hebrew called The Forbidden Chapter (analyzing Isaiah 53).

The Isaiah 53 Sign
Last week Simcha came with a large sign which had Isaiah 53 printed out in Hebrew with the words, “Who is the Prophet Talking About?” written at the top. I had little faith that day. I did not think carrying this sign into the streets of Tel Aviv would work at all. I stayed close to Simcha as we started out, figuring that if we were going to get into trouble, we might as well be together.

The first place we came to was a coffee house restaurant. It was a beautiful day. The tables on the sidewalk out front were crowded with people. Simcha turned to them, showed them the sign, and asked, “Who is this talking about?” I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

Amazingly enough, a man sitting at the first table in front of us said in a loud voice, “That’s Yeshua!” I popped my eyes open and said, “What?” He said again, “That’s Yeshua!” This opened up a lively discussion with people calling out from different tables to one another different responses pro and con. It was wonderful. I turned to Simcha and said (suddenly man of great faith that I am :)), “Can I hold the sign, too, for a while?” That day we had many good conversations with people as we went on through the streets.

Sharing in the Streets
This week we went to a different part of the city. Zina was sharing boldly at a popular city square. A hysterical and crazy “bag lady” came up from behind and started attacking her. I ran over, grabbed Zina, and pulled her off to the side to calm her down. Then I went back and continued handing out my tracts.

When our “bag lady” friend saw that I was not disturbed, she went and tried to gather some Orthodox Jews together to attack us. One of them came with a loud speaker and started to announce to people to beware of us and not take our materials. This actually offended some other people on the square who came over and told him to be quiet. (Praise God!)

Then another group of Orthodox came over to harass me and get me to stop. While they were arguing with me, they were accompanied by the bag lady on the other side, who was spitting at me. I turned to the leader of the group and said, “You’re saying the same thing this lady is. Do you want to be of her spirit or of our spirit?”

Then he said to me, “You’re not Jewish.” I turned to him, raised my voice loudly, and said, “I’m talking about the Torah and the prophets, about faith in the Messiah, true repentance, resurrection from the dead, and eternal life. That is the center of Judaism. There is no Judaism without what I’m talking about.” This left them rather speechless. They began to mumble things and then walk away. I just continued handing out our tracts.

Tsippi and I saw a young woman sitting on the side looking rather forlorn. I went over to her and said, “Are you sad?” She said, “Yes.” Tsippi and I prayed for her. Later she came by and said, “Thank you.”

More Jewish Dialogue
Toward the end of our time, I noticed that our bag lady friend was having a discussion with an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man (black coat, side curls and all), seemingly talking about us. This struck me as strange, because an ultra-Orthodox Jew like him would not normally even speak to a woman on the street. Apparently, since the topic was complaining about us, he felt a certain freedom to talk to her.

What struck me further strange is that they seemed to be having a rather serious theological conversation. After about fifteen minutes, I said to myself,”This is ridiculous.” I walked up to them and turned to the Orthodox man and handed my tract to him about the New Covenant prophecy in Jeremiah 31, and said to him, “Would you like to know what we really think?”

He held my tract out in front of him with his fore finger and his thumb as if it was a piece of dirty toilet paper. “God forbid!” he said, as if the very contact with me or with the words might make him unclean or something.

‘What a bizarre situation this is,’ I thought to myself. Here is this ultra-Orthodox man carrying on a serious theological discussion with a crazed bag lady on the street, yet with me (BA, liberal arts, Harvard College, ’74; MBA, Jewish studies, Baltimore Hebrew University, ’81; MTh, Messiah Bible Institute, ’83 :)), he wouldn’t even dare to speak a word for fear of being defiled.

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. – Romans 10:1-2.

While all this was going on, Zina returned to the man whom she had been sharing with, and he prayed with her to open his heart to Yeshua.

Sowing and Reaping
There is a biblical principle of sowing and reaping. In evangelism, you do not reap what you sow, but what someone else sows. Likewise, someone else will reap what you are sowing. Sowing is the initial evangelistic contacts. Reaping is bringing someone in as a member of the congregation.

One sows and another reaps. I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored. Others have labored and you have entered into their labors. – John 4:37-38.

We need to both sow and reap. Some congregations want only to gather into their own flock, but do not want to sow into evangelism for future new growth. Their growth is mostly just competing to gather in people who are already believers. That is neither honest nor healthy for the kingdom of God.

If we will be faithful to sow seeds of evangelism to those who will be reaped in the future, God will bring to us those who are ready to be reaped now, those who were sown into by others in the past.

Let us be bold and creative by the Spirit of God to sow new seeds of evangelism. Let us intercede for the seeds to be watered and to grow through prayer. Let us see a real harvest of lost souls come into the Body of Messiah.

Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.

He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.

Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.

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