If you are Jewish and beginning to consider Jesus, you might be concerned with how your family might react. You are not alone. This is a question that every Jewish believer in Jesus has to face. Revealing your faith in Jesus to your family and friends can be extremely difficult, and every believer has a story of how his or her loved ones listened to the gospel message, or pushed him away, or showed acceptance of her as a person, but not the message. Not everyone has a difficult experience, however. Sometimes, when one family member steps out in courage to share that Jesus is the Messiah, the rest of the family eventually comes to believe as well!
Every family is different, but it is possible that you may face isolation from your friends and family because of Jesus. Remember, though, you are not alone, and Jesus himself predicted that his followers would be faced with these struggles (Matthew 10:36–39). The question you must ask is, “Is Jesus worth it?” We believe wholeheartedly the answer is yes.
The following group of Jewish believers in Jesus believe that Jesus is worth it all. Perhaps their stories will give you courage.
Kamran is a Persian-Jewish man who grew up in a very traditional Jewish household in Iran. He chose to become a follower of Jesus after he moved to America. He spoke of being rejected by his brother and uncle who were against his believing in Jesus. Kamran felt like he hit rock bottom after that, sinking deeper and deeper into drug abuse, but there was a very bright light at the end of the tunnel. He said that it was Jesus’ love that pulled him out. For Kamran, even though his family rejected him, he claims he is beyond thankful and blessed for what Jesus did in his life. For Kamran, Jesus was worth it.
Ronit grew up in a semi-traditional Jewish household that did not like the thought of Yeshua. Whenever she would ask questions or mention his name, her family would treat her like she had spoken the forbidden subject. When she visited a church with her cousin, her dad did not speak to her for two weeks because of his dislike of Yeshua. In addition, her sister was horrified that Ronit had gone into a church. Her sister then went away for a year, and when she got back, Ronit noticed that there was something very different about her. Her sister had found something incredible. Her sister had found Yeshua! Ronit wanted more than anything to find that too. Years later, when Ronit became a follower of Yeshua, her dad felt betrayed and said it would have been better if she were a drug addict. Ronit wants her father to accept her, but to her, life with Jesus and knowing his love and truth is worth every hardship she will ever face. For Ronit, her sister, and her cousin, Jesus was worth it.
Randy is a Jewish person from a not-so-religious Jewish family in Long Island, NY. Growing up, he tried as hard as he could to find a closer connection with God. He remembers setting some goals for himself during Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) when he was 15: he was going to say all the prayers, fast, confess all his sins, and get it all right so that he would finally connect with God. However, he felt no closer to God than he did the day before. He prayed to God after that to show him the way to make a connection with him. A friend of his later invited him to hang out with followers of Jesus. They spoke about knowing God personally and having a relationship with him. When he was in college, he read about Yeshua for the first time and discovered just how Jewish he really is. After that, he became a follower of Yeshua because he found peace and meaning in him. Randy’s parents never rejected him because of his new trust in Jesus. When his mom was 71, she began following Jesus as well! For both Randy and his mother, Jesus was worth it.
Jewish believers in Jesus have encountered a variety of responses from their beloved family. Following Jesus can be a difficult journey, but it comes with unfathomable joy. Not everyone who decides to follow Jesus experiences alienation from their friends and family, but those who do can find comfort in the fact God will never abandon them.
It may take time for you to find the courage to share your faith with your family. To help you, we want to support you and encourage you to follow Yeshua in any circumstance. Please get in contact with us if you need a listening ear. If you want to be connected with Jewish believers in Yeshua who have walked this road before you, please do not hesitate to email us, and we can respond with a phone call. You can watch dozens of video stories of Messianic Jews at www.ifoundshalom.com. These will encourage your heart.
No matter where you are in considering these things, do not let the fear of rejection by family and friends keep you from making the most important decision of your life. Ultimately, you answer to God, and he will help you through any difficulties that come from accepting Yeshua as your Lord and Messiah. God is with you. As the Bible says, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (1 Chronicles 28:20). When you join the ever-growing community of Jews and Gentiles who follow Jesus, you will not only feel a completeness and shalom in him, but you will also discover a spiritual family that will love and embrace you.