Jenna the Jew
As a Jew, Jenna's worldview is a religion called Judaism. Judaism is over 3500 years old and has approximately 15 million followers worldwide. It is one of the oldest religions on earth, and was started by the Biblical character Moses when he gave them the law God revealed to him. Jenna believes that the God who created the world established a covenant (a binding agreement - sort of like a contract) with the Jewish people. She believes God revealed his laws and commandments to the Jews in what they call the Torah - which is the same as the first five books of the Bible (Genesis-Deuteronomy). Jenna is devoted to studying and obeying the laws and commandments written in these books.
Questions You Can Ask
- What’s your spiritual background?
- What is it like to be a part of your religion? The traditions I’ve heard about sound pretty interesting!
- Do you follow Judaism because of your own choice, or because it is your family tradition?
- What do you believe about Jesus Christ?
- Have you ever considered the possibility that Jesus really is the Messiah? Why or why not?
- Would you be interested in talking about Old Testament passages that seem to point to Jesus as the Messiah?
- Do you think there’s a difference between a “religion” and the “relationship” with God that Jesus talked about?
- Do you believe that entrance into heaven is dependent on keeping the law? If so, how well have you obeyed the Ten Commandments?
- How would your friends and family in Judaism react if you converted to Christianity? How does that make you feel? Would you be willing to pay the price of being rejected if you were convinced that what I shared with you was true?
- Has anyone ever explained the gospel to you?
Areas You Can Admire
- Jenna’s belief in one God.
- Jenna’s belief that Jesus Christ existed.
- Jenna’s respect for the Old Testament.
- Jenna’s long, rich religious heritage that’s been passed down generation to generation for thousands of years.
What Jenna Believes
Jenna believes that Judaism is the one true religion because God personally spoke to Moses and gave him the law and commandments that people in Judaism follow. Although there are differences of opinions about the exact way Judaism should be followed, a leader in Judaism known as "Rambam" (who lived over 1000 years ago) summed up Judaism in 13 beliefs:
- God exists.
- God is one and unique.
- God doesn't have a body.
- God is eternal.
- Prayer is to be directed to God alone.
- The words of the prophets are true.
- Moses was the greatest prophet, and his prophecies are true.
- The Torah was given to Moses.
- There will be no other Torah.
- God knows the thoughts and deeds of men.
- God will reward the good and punish the wicked.
- The Messiah will come.
- The dead will be resurrected.
Jenna believes in the same God of the universe that Christians do - the One revealed in the Bible as Yahweh.
About the Trinity:
Jenna does not believe in the Trinity revealed in the Bible.
Jenna believes Jesus was a teacher, but no more than that.
About the Bible:
Jenna believes only the Old Testament is the inspired word of God, so she rejects the New Testament as God's word.
About the Afterlife:
Jenna believes that there is an afterlife where God rewards the good people and punishes the evil people, but beyond that she is not sure how it all plays out. There is definitely a heaven, but she does not view hell as a place of eternal torment.
Jenna believes salvation is achieved by keeping the Law of the Torah.
What the Bible Teaches
God identified Himself as "I Am" (Exodus 20:2) - meaning He is the self-existent (never had a beginning or end) eternal Creator of the universe.
About the Trinity:
There is one God and yet three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 45:5; Deuteronomy 6:4; James 2:19).
Jesus is fully God and fully man, He is the God of the universe (John 1:1, 14, 18; 8:58 ; 10:30 . Compare Titus 2:13 and Isaiah 45:21), and He is equal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
About the Bible:
The Bible alone is the word of God. It is without error. It cannot and should not be added to or subtracted from (2 Timothy 3:16-4:4; Revelation 22:18-20). All 66 books of the Bible are inspired, not just the first five.
About the Afterlife:
Those who trust in Christ alone as their only hope of salvation spend eternity in heaven; those who reject Christ spend an eternity in hell (John 5:24-30; Revelation 20:11-15).
Salvation is by faith in Christ on the basis of His death on the cross. Good works or keeping the law have nothing to do with being saved (John 3:16-17, 36; 6:29,47; Romans 4:1-5; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5).
Things to Remember
- Jenna does not like to be stereotyped with others from her religion, so ask a ton of questions to learn where she is coming from like:
- Does she attend synagogue?
- What happens at Passover?
- Why doesn't she offer sacrifices today?
- How does she find forgiveness since the destruction of the temple?
- What does she believe about the coming of Messiah?
- How will she recognize him when he comes?
- Jenna has been raised with little knowledge about Jesus Christ, so when you feel it could be appropriate, talk about how Jesus literally and perfectly fulfilled over 300 prophecies made about the coming Messiah. Ask Jenna to read Isaiah 53 and ask her who she believes that Bible passage is describing. Here is a link that goes through all the prophecies:
- Whenever possible, use Scripture to answer Jenna's questions. If you get asked something you don't know the answer to, ask Jenna for some time and then do some research.
- Your main goal initially should not be to persuade Jenna that Jesus is the Messiah - it is a means to an end, and that end is that she needs to see that she fails to keep God's Law. It is not good enough for her to do her best; God requires perfection, so you need to get Jenna to the point where she knows that God will not overlook her failures or forgive her on the basis of their mitzvot (good deeds). Show her that God requires the shedding of blood for the forgiveness of sin (Leviticus 17:11; cf. 16:15-17, 27, 30), which was why the Messiah (Jesus) came to earth 2000 years ago.
- Remember that Christianity as we know it is built on Judaism as revealed in the Old Testament. It is, in many ways, the foundation of the Christian faith. Speak respectfully about Judaism because many of its practices are based on Old Testament customs that pointed to the coming of Jesus as Messiah.