One of the most effective ways to spread the Gospel is hosting events at the congregation where friends and family members of believers are invited to witness special occasions.
In Israel, and at Tiferet Yeshua congregation in Tel Aviv, many of us are the only believers in our families. Some might have another relative or two that believes, but that’s pretty much it.
That’s why, while planning a Bar Mitzvah celebration, we also pray that God would open a door to the hearts of all the relatives who come to the event. As in many cases, this gives us a rare opportunity to proclaim the gospel to people who’ve never before been to a Messianic Jewish congregation. So, during the week of the Bar Mitzvah, we also took the time to pray for the families.
At least ten unbelievers, together with the families who came to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah, came to the event. After the two boys who celebrated their Bar Mitzvah read from the Torah, and after the sermon was over, the parents of one of the kids who celebrated his Bar Mitzvah, came to me. God answered our prayers, and this father, who had seen the love that the congregation has for his family, said he’s willing to learn about the meaning of being baptized in the name of Yeshua, and to take this act of faith and become a believer. His wife has been continually praying for him for fifteen years! That prayer has finally been fulfilled!
The meaning of the phrase ‘Bar Mitzvah’ is—the son of the Mitzvah (commandment). In Judaism, the age of 13 is the age where a child becomes an adolescent, where he starts to take responsibility for his actions. Physiologically and intellectually speaking, a young boy at this age can finally understand the depth of the consequences of his actions. It’s important for us to teach these kids that they need to come to the congregation out of their own faith in God and in Messiah Yeshua, and not for the sake of pleasing their parents or friends.
In the Bar Mitzvah lessons, we study the many prophecies we have of the Messiah in the Bible. We talk about the importance of all the covenants God had with our father Abraham, Moses, and, of course, about the importance of the New Covenant. In addition, every week we have a Torah Portion, which is a segment from the Bible that we read from the scrolls. The Son of Mitzvah must know how to read his entire Torah Portion, which is very hard, as the traditional scrolls are rolled up and written on parchment. They don’t have any punctuation to the words, no commas or periods, and that’s why the Sons of Mitzvah must practice, often for months, reading their portion.
In addition, the Son of Mitzvah prepares a small written sermon regarding his Torah Portion and he must read it in front of the entire congregation.
Every time it amazes me to see how our kids grow up so fast. Kids who, “just a minute ago” were so small, are now becoming mature boys. We, as a congregation, have a spiritual responsibility to teach our boys and girls about the Kingdom of God. To instill in them values and encourage them in their faith in Messiah Yeshua. We know that one of the reasons God chose our father Abraham was because he knew how to bequeath his faith in God to his family:
“For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
Friends, we want you to co-labor with us in prayer for our nation, Israel. We also invite you to keep the families and newcomers in our congregation in prayer. Some of them are very close to surrendering to the Lord. Also, remember our children at the congregation, as well. Many leaders around the country are witnessing a new powerful wave of God’s Spirit in Israel’s young generation.
This article originally appeared in Maoz Israel Report, July, 2017, and reposted with permission.