Happy New Year to all our readers!
On this day in Messianic Jewish history brings you significant events in the life of Jewish believers in Yeshua, or events in the history of the Church and the Jewish people that have shaped Jewish expressions of faith in Yeshua, and impacted Jewish Christianity in the past and its contemporary expression in Messianic Judaism today.
As we begin a New Year we reflect on the principle and practice illustrated in the life of Hudson Taylor, the pioneer missionary to China, and John Wilkinson, founder of the Mildmay Mission to the Jews on January 1st 1897. I would also like to invite you to follow their example.
On the first day of every year during his time as head of the China Inland Mission (now Overseas Missionary Fellowship), Hudson Taylor sent a check to the Mildmay Mission to the Jews, London, on which was written, “To the Jew first.” And, at the same time, John Wilkinson, leader of the Mildmay Mission, sent his personal check to the China-Inland Mission with the notation, “And also to the Gentile.”
The details are recorded by Mrs Hudson Taylor here:
And her last gift to the Rev. John Wilkinson expressed the deepest interest in his work among the Jews. Work among God’s ancient people occupied a special place in the prayerful sympathy of both Mr. and Mrs. Taylor ; and Mr. John Wilkinson, founder of the Mildmay Mission to the Jews, recalled an interesting phase of their long friendship. Taking advantage of a New Year’s Day spent at home (1897), Mr. Taylor went round to Mr. Wilkinson’s house with a brotherly note enclosing a gift for the Mission. ” To the Jew first,” were the words with which the cheque was accompanied. Mr. Wilkinson’s warm heart was touched, and he immediately wrote a brotherly reply, enclosing his own cheque for the same amount, with the words : ” And also to the Gentile.” This helpful interchange of sympathy was kept up ever after, the only change being that each doubled the amount of their contribution.
The exegesis of Romans 1:16 to argue for a ‘missional priority’ for Jewish evangelism, that the Jewish people remain today the starting point has not always been accepted. But today, as much as ever, believers in Yeshua have a responsibility towards the Jewish people which includes not only repentance and reconciliation, but sharing of the Good News of the Messiah of Israel as a priority.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for the example of Hudson Taylor. Help us in our lives to live out his principles of faith and put them into practice. May we too have a right understanding of your love and concern for your Jewish people, and how best to show this. May this coming year be crowned with good things, and may Yeshua be made known as the glory of his people Israel. In our Messiah’s name. Amen.
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Antoine Fritz, TO THE JEW FIRST OR TO THE JEW AT LAST? ROMANS 1:16c AND JEWISH MISSIONAL PRIORITY IN DIALOGUE WITH JEWS FOR JESUS