The Joseph Principle

The Joseph Principle
By Avi Snyder, European Ambassador, Jews for Jesus

There’s a pattern throughout history: God uses seemingly adverse circumstances for His glory.  We might almost call this the Joseph Principle – “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20).


Of course, the greatest example of this principle, is found in the execution and resurrection of Yeshua.  At first, we thought His crucifixion signaled defeat.  But it actually ushered in the most significant victory in human history.


It’s good to keep the Joseph Principle in mind as we look at how Covid-19 affected all of our ministries, and as we consider what might lie ahead.  Clearly, none of us anticipated the disruptions that the pandemic would bring into our lives and ministries.  The heartbeat of Jews for Jesus has always been the clear, unashamed, face-to-face presentation of the Gospel message to our fellow Jews, but Covid-19 threatened to put a screeching halt to most of that personal witness.  So, we needed to consider some options – undoubtedly, the same options that anyone involved in ministry entertained.  Should we hold back and wait for the proverbial break in the weather?  Should we push forward, regardless of the restrictions and the risks to our health and to the health of others?  Should we look for creative third alternatives that might allow us to pursue and even further our goals through innovations and new methodologies?  For us, the third option proved to be the right choice, especially in the realm of social media.


We’ve always recognized the immense value of every kind of media, but it wasn’t until Covid-19 threatened to box us in that we deliberately sought to use social media to the fullest extent, even holding online campaigns during the Jewish holidays.  We discovered that our desire to use social media was matched by people’s desire to be reached by social media.  The confinement seemed to create a hunger for contact, including contact about spiritual truths.  All of our branch offices reported very sizeable increases in activity across every platform.  In the CIS, our YouTube videos alone were watched over 2,000,000 times in the past year and a half.   Nor did the activity end at the inquiry stage.  By God’s grace, Jewish people gave their hearts to the Lord “online.”


With increased online activity, we took hold of the opportunity to involve people from other country operations. This gave all of our meetings a more international feel.  The presence of “foreign guests” in some instances increased the appeal among local participants.  A sense of international community even developed.  It was good for Holocaust survivors in Budapest, for example, to see young Israelis in Tel Aviv advocating for the Messiahship of Jesus.


In Israel, the high vaccination rate opened the door for our staff members to hit the streets quickly and minister in-person to people who didn’t ordinarily spend time online.  Hands, doors and hearts opened to us as we offered the Gospel message and Bible studies, along with physical assistance.


Now, as all of us hope for matters to find some kind of equilibrium, we’ve made the choice to incorporate the improvisations and innovations into our standard ministry methods.  It’s a nice rule of thumb – from improvisation/innovation, to expansion, to incorporation.  Let me share one brief story that I hope will serve as a blessing and encouragement.


Before the lockdown started, a young Israeli woman named Noa contacted our Tel Aviv office and asked for a New Testament.  One of our missionaries, Anna, followed up, first in person and then online as the lockdown set in.  Because of the lockdown, Anna might have miscalculated the impact she could still have online, but thankfully, she didn’t make that mistake.  Noa welcomed the steady virtual connection as an antidote to the closure, and after a month, Noa gave her heart to the Lord.  Another month later, she joined a local congregation online while continuing her one-on-one discipleship sessions via zoom.  Once the lockdown eased up, Anna added those all-too-vital personal visits back into the mix, meeting with Noa personally and online.  Mikva, or baptism, soon followed.  And now, Noa actively takes part in a young adults’ Bible project, both in-person and thanks to Zoom.


What’s one of greatest lesson in this for all of us?  Even this.  God remains in perfect and absolute control – even over those events that seem to disrupt our plans.  God not only knows what’s going on, but He’s using it for His glory.  The Joseph Principle.



Regardless of what lies ahead – whether a slow climb up, or a roller-coaster ride, let’s look for the ways we can improvise and innovate; let’s be quick to thank Him for the expansion that the innovations will undoubtedly bring about; let’s incorporate the innovations into our “standard operating procedures,” and let’s never forget that God remains in perfect control.

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