By: RYAN JONES, Israel Today—
An online evangelism effort by local Israeli Messianic Jews has become something of an Internet sensation over the past month after the video testimony of an Jewish man who came to faith in Yeshua (Jesus) went viral.
Mottel Baleston’s was just one of the latest in a series of video testimonies titled “I Met Messiah” produced by the Israeli Messianic group One For Israel in cooperation with Chosen People Ministries.
But Baleston’s testimony apparently touched a nerve, and by the first week of June well over five million people had viewed the brief video explanation of how he had many years earlier come to faith as a young man in Brooklyn.
Growing up, Baleeston was acquainted with a large number of Italian Catholics, leading him to believe that Jesus must be Italian. In the video he explains how “the understanding that actually Jewish was a shock. And then to hear that the New Testament was written by Jews, I couldn’t believe it. …when I open it, I’m reading a story written by Jews about Jewish people.”
What followed as a natural progression for a young man seeking spiritual truth. “As I came to faith that Yeshua – that Jesus was the Messiah, it was clear that that was the most Jewish thing I could do,” he recalled. “This is the One who was promised in our Bible.”
The most tear-jerking part of the testimony is when Baleston recounts convincing his father to attend a lecture by an author he knew to be a believer. Baleston was happily stunned when both he and his father raised their hands when asked by the speaker for all Jewish believers in Yeshua to identify themselves.
One For Israel director Eitan Bar told Israel Today that Baleston’s testimony had opened a lot of doors. By press time, it had been shared over 175,000 times on Facebook and had a “reach” (number of personal profiles on which it was viewed) of well over 15 million on the largest social network.
“It sparked discussions among many Jewish groups,” said Bar. “I myself got into discussions with Orthodox Jewish Rabbis from the USA and France about Yeshua!”
Bar concluded that he felt “like we are changing the direction of Jewish evangelism. After 1,900 years the Gospel is finally ‘going forth from Zion’ (Ps. 14:7).”