Day 73: An Evangelist to the Jews

Acts 13:20-25 :

After these things he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. Afterward they asked for a king, and God gave to them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. When he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, to whom he also testified, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ From this man’s seed, God has brought salvation to Israel according to his promise, before his coming, when John had first preached the baptism of repentance to Israel. As John was fulfilling his course, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. But behold, one comes after me the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’

Paul continues his teaching in the synagogue, coming to the part of Israel’s history in which David was king. Then, Paul explains that God had already fulfilled His promise to provide “salvation to Israel according to his promise.”

At this point, Paul jumps to a much more recent point in history in which he describes the work of John who brought Jews to repentance and pointed them to their Messiah. He also made it clear that John said that he wasn’t the Messiah. He also reminded them that the Messiah had to be in David’s line.

This passage provides an excellent look at how a good evangelist works. Notice that Paul built a foundation for his discussion on the truth that his audience was already aware of. When speaking to Jews, this meant that he could start out discussing Jewish history and experience. This is not how the discussion would go for Gentiles.

Many Gentiles in that day didn’t even believe in a single god. Paul didn’t have to start out explaining to the Jews that there was only one God because the Jews already understood this fact.

When we attempt to explain our salvation to others, we should speak from their understanding of truth. If we just start spouting Bible verses, they can get very confused without explaining what we mean by things like “God” and even “Bible.” Many people have a wrong interpretation of “God” thinking that God can be the same across religions. Because of this, we have a lot of communication to do as evangelists today. Many people don’t understand that when we say “Bible” we mean something that can’t have any mistakes in it. A majority of people may have understood these things in the western world 80 years ago, but today, much as been lost. Things in our world are getting even more difficult to explain as more and more people grow up without a knowledge of Christianity.