Messianic Jew: A Simple Definition
A Messianic Jew is a Jewish person who believes that Yeshua (Jesus) is their Messiah. Some people think that a Jewish person who believes in Jesus is no longer a Jew. But what could possibly be more Jewish than believing in the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua?
Messianic Jew: Some Actual Testimonies
Messianic Jews have created some wonderful ministries. It seems that some of the most powerful testimonies for Jesus come from Jewish people that discover that their Messiah has already come. Here are a couple of excerpts:
"The more I read the Bible and learned about God, the more I wanted to know Him. I began to follow the Old Testament laws so he would be pleased with me: I ate only kosher foods, stopped going to Friday night football games, and tried my best to keep all the commandments I could. As I continued to read the Bible, I came across verses about a promised Messiah. Now I knew a bit about the Messiah already from my Jewish upbringing. When I read about the Messiah in the Hebrew Scriptures, my curiosity was piqued. The picture was sketchy, but it slowly became frightfully clear. This Messiah that I was reading about in my own Jewish Bible sounded like you-know-who! I didn't know much about Jesus, but I did know that I wasn't supposed to believe in Him. I began trying to find other explanations for prophecies like Micah 5:2, which describes an Eternal One who would be born in Bethlehem; or Daniel 9, that pinpoints the time of Messiah's first coming; also Isaiah 53, which spoke of Messiah's life and his sacrifice for sin. As I tried to explain away these and many other prophecies, I found that I could not. I realized that if the Bible was true, then Jesus had to be the Jewish Messiah! I felt guilty simply having these thoughts! What if Jesus wasn't the Messiah? Then I would be committing idolatry! But what if He was? I would be denying God by not believing! I had to be totally sure, so I kept on studying and searching and trying to prove it wasn't so. After two years of struggling, I found myself drawn closer and closer to Jesus" (Zhava Glaser, Chosen People Ministries).
"Okay, I didn't have many options to start with! I was born Jewish! You can't really determine the circumstances of your own birthright? So I got a basic Jewish education and at the tender age of 13 I took upon my narrow shoulders the broad weight of the Law as I became Bar-mitzvah, which literally means "a son of the commandments." On that particular day as I stood on the raised platform in the synagogue and read from the seemingly ancient scroll with its spidery writing, God touched me and I felt a radiance that vanished as quickly as it had come. My idea of God at that stage was quite undeveloped. Although I had a clear sense of monotheism, God was a distant and irrelevant Being. I knew of the Messiah before I heard of Jesus. For me, the Messiah was a mysterious figure who emerged from the winds of a Jewish atmosphere. He was the dawning of a new era, like a warrior approaching from heaven's horizon with a banner of truth in his hand and the rising sun at his back. To me, as a Jew, Jesus was from the other side of the Book, the closed side. I was told that the New Testament had been added by the Gentiles and that I need never consider any intermediary in order to relate to God. I bought a copy of the New Testament and read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. My first impression of the Gospels was that they were patently Jewish books. The significance given to Jesus' genealogies and the use of Old Testament quotations caused me to perceive clearly that these were Jews writing in a Jewish way in order to convince other Jews, and Gentiles, that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah" (Lev Leigh, Jews for Jesus).
Messianic Jew: The Power of Prophecy in the Jewish Scriptures
Louis Lapides, a Hebrew scholar and Messianic Jew, is a well-known writer and speaker on Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament. One of the important pieces of evidence that convinced Lapides that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah of the Jews was the fulfillment of prophecy in the Jewish Scriptures themselves. There are over 300 prophecies concerning the coming Messiah (about 40 of which are very specific), and Jesus fulfilled every one. Some say this is just coincidence. Some say its Christian manipulation after-the-fact. Some say its interpretation out-of-context. However, all of these objections break down under investigation. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the reliability of the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, we now know with certainty that these Jewish prophecies pre-dated Jesus Christ, and that today's Old Testament translations are nearly identical to the ancient Hebrew texts. Lapides has said, "You know, I go through books that people write to try to tear down what we believe. That's not fun to do, but I spend the time to look at each objection individually and then to research the context and the wording in the original language. And every single time, the prophecies have stood up and shown themselves to be true."