“Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel until the Son of man returns.” – Matthew 10:23
There is a shift happening in the global body of Messiah for the past twenty years that is exciting and fresh. The King of Israel is making himself known to the whole world. We are living in such a time that the prophets of Israel longed to see, and we get to be a part of it.
My kehila planting partner and I go often out to prayer walk neighborhoods and villages to look for “persons of peace” (Luke 10: 6-7). We do this often as we are contending to see a small house congregation planted in every neighborhood of major cities in the Negev, as well as every village and settlement. We know that the kingdom of heaven is dynamic in such “little flocks” (Luke 12:32). We believe in binding the “strong man” through prayer walking and preparing the way for the Holy Spirit to deal with people’s hearts, and then we “plunder the strong man’s house” by getting into the homes of Jewish and Bedouin seekers and “healing the sick, raising the dead, and casting out demons” (Mark 3:27, Matthew 10:8). Once in the house, we “eat and drink” what is put before us and share with them the kingdom (Luke 10:7). We usually take an apartment block each time and ask the Holy Spirit for a “person of peace” in each neighborhood before we start knocking on doors. We have a small survey on spirituality that helps us get into homes and provides an opportunity to pray for the sick.
Recently, our team went out to look for a person of peace in a neighborhood block in Dimona. After doing about an hour prayer walk of the block we were going to engage, we started knocking on doors and going door to door. We arrived at one home of a Mizrachi Jewish man named “K”, who had been in an automobile accident years before and nearly died. As he invited us in and gave us something to drink, we noticed the pictures of rabbis as well as art of figures from the Bible that permeated his home. He shared with us delightfully how he had experienced God through the practice of “hitbodedut” (getting alone with God and pouring your heart out to Him) after being revived miraculously from near death by the prayers of his Orthodox Jewish father. His two sons were also eager to meet us as well. He then asked us how we experienced God, and we shared that we experienced God through the Tenach and New Covenant. Shocked, he asked us if we meant “Yeshu”. He then said he believed Yeshua was a kabbalist and sage who knew the name of God and was able to walk on water. We asked him if he knew the story behind Yeshua walking on water, and then told him the entire story (story-telling is a regular tool that we use to share the gospel). We asked him what he could learn from this story, and this young Orthodox Jewish father of two said, “We never need to lose our faith and trust in God or we will sink like Peter did!” We then asked if he wanted prayer or a blessing for any urgent needs. He said he had back problems, but had reservations about us praying to “Yeshu”. So we said not to worry, that we will prayer to “the Holy One Blessed Be He” by the merit (skhut) of Rabbi Yeshua the sage (tana). We asked him if he ever approached God by the virtue (skhut) of a rabbi as a mediator, he affirmed that he did this with Baba Salli (a famous rabbi known for healing virtues in Israel) and currently with Baba Salli’s grandson. So we asked him if it would be ok to bless him by the virtue of Rabbi Yeshua similar to how he seeks out the virtue of Babba Salli. He affirmed that this was a good thing, and we sat their family on his coach and began to pray for him. As we prayed for him, the power of God began to fall on him and he said he felt power all over him. His oldest son then asked if we could pray for him as well, and his father gave permission. So the oldest son also started to feel power and said he felt like he was “flying”. We also began to prophesy over this young man. Then, the youngest son asked for a blessing because he was dealing with asthma and needed his inhaler two times a day. He stood up and we prayed for him. He then asked us gently while we were praying, “Why do I feel like I want to fall down?” We affirmed to him that this was normal when people are prayed for, and suddenly he fell down onto the coach. He yelled that he felt fire all over his little nine year old body. After the prayer, the father asked us to return to study the Bible together with him. Two weeks later I called the father and he acknowledged with excitement, that his nine year old son hasn’t needed his inhaler since we prayed for him. We will continue going there to share God’s stories of love and the power of the virtue of Rabbi Yeshua.
This is just one of many stories that we have seen as we go out prayer walking and then looking for persons of peace all over the Negev. We have already started Jewish home groups with new believers coming to faith and the Holy Spirit is on the move.
As exciting as this miracle story is, there are a couple points that I would like to express about the Matthew 10 Mandate to try to finish going through all the cities and towns of Israel before the Son of Man returns.
- We need increased intentionality and strategy as the messianic body in Israel.
- We need increased accountability that we are focused on the task of the Great Commission here in Israel. We need to access our work and effectiveness of completing this task on at least a monthly basis.
- We need apostolic foundations and training modules for skills sets for every member in the body of Messiah to finish the task.
- We need evangelism bridges and disciple-making plans that are simple,reproducible, and effective.
- We need to raise up and release indigenous harvest workers.
- Every Member of the Body of Messiah in Israel needs to start to function as the priests and kings that God made them to be, we are raising up the entire body of Messiah to be a body of leaders.
- We need to rely less on programs, buildings, and outside fund-raising and more on the local resources we have in the Body (homes, tentmakers, local offerings). If it takes lots of money to run, it is not reproducible.
- We need both movements of prayer and movements of evangelism.
- We need to contend for a movement of healings, signs, and wonders.
- We also should not be afraid of process, intentionality, strategies, and plans.
Lets believe God that this year will be a great year for the Harvest in Israel.