The Jewish Road: Uniting Act 1 and Act 2 of Our Faith Journey with Matt Davis

Welcome back to the unSeminary podcast. We’re talking with Matt Davis from The Jewish Road, an organization that works to help Christians make sense of their Jewish roots while helping Jews make sense of Jesus.

Most Christians have a basic understanding of Jesus and His teachings, but they aren’t getting the whole story. Jesus has been disconnected from His Jewishness, and Christians have been disconnected from the roots of their faith. Meanwhile, many Jewish people today don’t even acknowledge Jesus as one of their own. Tune in as Matt shares resources that can help bridge the gap between Jews and Christians while enriching our faith.

  • Drive-by faith. // Recognizing the Jewish roots of Christianity and integrating Jewish heritage with faith in Jesus is not just an academic exercise, but a journey towards a more complete form of worship. Both Christians and Jews suffer from what Matt calls a drive-by faith. Though we read scripture, we often miss many of the important references and connections that link the Old and New Testament.
  • Bring both together. // The Old and New Testaments are really one singular story and are full of hyperlinks that create connectedness. If we know where to click, there is wisdom that we can gain which will deepen our relationship with the Lord. The role of the Church is to bring the Jewish people back to Jesus. So bringing the Old and New Testaments together is also about bringing the Jewish people and Gentile believers together.
  • Make the connection through scripture. // There are practical aspects of incorporating Jewish traditions into the Christian faith. Hosting a Passover Seder, for instance, can be a powerful way to engage with Jewish communities and deepen our understanding of Jesus’ Jewishness and the Last Supper. Open your church and invite Jewish neighbors to foster a greater connection and promote dialogue between the two faiths.
  • The Roman Road and the Jewish Road. // Christians, including pastors, are taught to share their faith from The Roman Road using the New Testament. However, understanding the gospel through the lens of the Old Testament—the “Jewish road”—is crucial for effectively sharing Jesus’ message with Jewish people. Christians need to be well-versed in Old Testament scriptures and to recognize the presence of the gospel within them.
  • A resource to help you help others. // Church leaders may fear that when they’ve been a pastor long enough, they should know everything and have answers to questions right away. But there is often a lack of resources and training to communicate the gospel from the Old Testament and understand the context for Jewish celebrations. The Jewish Road is committed to providing support and education to bridge this gap. They offer a podcast, speak at churches, take trips to Israel and provide other resources that enable believers to gain a deeper understanding of the Jewish context of Christianity.

You can learn more about The Jewish Road and find Matt’s podcast at Plus, download the free PDF, The Prophets Speak: Uncovering God’s Plan Of Salvation On The Jewish Road.

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Episode Transcript

Rich Birch — Hey, friends, welcome to the unSeminary podcast. First of all I know here we are in Holy Week. I know many of you are busy and you you maybe are just going to listen to this after Holy Week but I hope you’re listening to it here today, because we’ve got a great conversation that I think fits so well in ah, this particular week. Excited to have ah Matt Davis with us from The Jewish Road. This is a great organization that really seeks to restore the Jewishness of the gospel through teachings and trips. They help Christians make sense of their Jewish roots while helping Jews make sense of Jesus. After serving in a church as ah as ah, both a teaching and executive pastor, Matt started The Jewish Road with his father, Ron. Ah Matt and Ron are both Messianic Jews who talks about who talk about Jesus and connect Act 1 and Act 2, the Old Testament and the New Testament. Ah, super honored to have Matt with us today. Thanks for being on the show.

Matt Davis — Good to be here with you. Thank you and shalom.

Rich Birch — Yeah, thank you so much. I’m so honored ah that you’re here. So like kind of fill in the picture. Tell us a bit of your story. Ah, you know, that’s kind of boilerplate bio stuff, but give us the that give us the Matt Davis story.

Matt Davis — Yeah, ah born into a Jewish family. But really my my parents were already believers um, at the time. Actually grew up at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa – maybe you heard of that. My parents were saved in this thing called the Jesus Revolution, which now everybody knows because we saw the movie. Ah, but I actually got my very first spanking in the nursery at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. And it [inaudible] one of them.

Rich Birch — That’s a great claim to fame. I love that.

Matt Davis — Yeah, that’s how it all started. Maybe that’s how it all will end. But there was a volunteer named Wally; he gave me back to my dad and said, sorry Mr. Davis we had to spank him. My dad said, he had it coming. So no, no lawsuit, no nothing like that. But really, there was a group there called the Jewish Christian Fellowship that grew to be a couple hundred people, and they asked Chuck Smith for permission to go out and plant the first Messianic Jewish congregation in Orange County. He was in Irvine, California. And ah, large Jewish population there and really, that’s how I grew up for the rest of my life. I got all my spankings from home by that point.

Matt Davis — But um, the the question I got and as I went into ministry later on in the church with the question from all the people in the church was well Matt you’re a pastor but you’re Jewish, how does that work? And all my Jewish friends said, well you’re Jewish, but why are you a pastor? And so the question that comes up for me all the time and even still to this day is, so when did you convert? When did you switch? When did you join the other side? And the implication there is when did you stop being Jewish and then become Christian?

Matt Davis — And I think we have the same question of Jesus. When did Jesus, born a Jew, died a Jew, but when did Jesus become a Christian? And and we have to be careful with how we talk about that because Jewish people believe that in order to follow Jesus, Yeshua, a Jewish messiah, that they actually have to stop being Jewish. And and we want to make sure that they understand that that is actually not the point. So that’s how I grew up was in this Messianic movement and it was very messy, but I also was very much a part of evangelical church as well.

Rich Birch — Very cool. Love that. That’s a fun – I’m looking forward to, like I say, friends, looking forward to diving in on this ah, you know, this conversation. So then then ah, let’s get this part out of the way and then we’ll come back to the conversation. I want to make sure we’re wrestling with ah, how does The Jewish Road, the organization, fit into, you know, this conversation for you?

Matt Davis — Well, we we really had to try to figure out if we are sitting in the middle of this this tension between, really, two peoples, two testaments, Old Testament, New Testament, we really looked at it as as a two-act play, like like you just said in the intro. But we we said really that it’s like every Jew in the world, they bought tickets to this two-act play and the Jews went to the first act and got up at intermission, grabbed a drink, and then went home. They didn’t even see the second act. Meanwhile every Christian the world, they bought tickets to that same two-act play, but they got there late. They actually passed the Jews in the lobby and they saw the second act.

Rich Birch — Oh, that’s good.

Matt Davis — And the tragedy is that like neither group has seen or heard the whole story. So how do we actually bridge this gap, and then help one another out? So we want to make that there’s just beauty in both sides if we can actually understand the fullness of this story. And I say that both sides really suffer from a drive-by-faith. Now I’ve led a ton of for the last twenty-five years I’ve been leading trips to the Middle East, primarily Israel. But, you know, I’ve been to 120+ cities in Israel, and when you have a 9-day tour in the Holy Land, you have to run where Jesus walked.

Matt Davis — And the most painful part for me is to be in the bus and know that I’m driving by, oh man, that’s where Gideon was, and it’s this amazing piece here, but we we don’t have time so we’ve got to keep driving. And I think that’s what we do. I think Christians do this with scripture is there are parts that we just drive by that we don’t even know we’re driving by. And I think the Jewish people do the exact same thing. They they read through something like Isaiah 53 and it’s pointing to the Messiah and they they keep driving.

Matt Davis — And so I think that scripture—this is how I look at it—scripture has… you know on a hyperlink, on ah on a website, right? It’s usually like blue and underlined so you can click on, it takes you somewhere else. It’s linked to something else. I think that scripture is full of unseen hyperlinks that we are reading right past it and we don’t know that actually you could click there. And what we want to do is let’s highlight this, both in the first act, the Old Testament, and in the second act, the New Testament, and highlight for both groups there is a connectedness. This is one singular story. And if you actually know where to click, there is some wisdom here that we can gain. It will actually deepen our relationship with the Lord.

Rich Birch — Love it. Well from the Christian perspective, and obviously I want to get to the purpose of our podcast. We, you know, we talk to we’re trying to help and equip church leaders. So I want to I want to want this to be a helpful conversation for church leaders, particularly as we’re thinking about. I think this is a good week to be wrestling with these issues. And you know although this year there’s not a direct alignment on Passover it is the time of year where we do have a resonance with our Jewish background just even in our calendar. There’s like this like we know that there’s somewhere in this season we’re celebrating similar days. Ah, we don’t need to we don’t need this to be ah, a deep theological conversation, but I do think we should address some of these things. From a Christian perspective looking back from the Act 2, I think that’s a compelling the second act. I think that’s a ah, that’s ah you know a compelling idea, like we we’re seeing it just from maybe the second act of the play I think is ah is a compelling way to think about it. But from a from a Christian perspective when we look at say Acts 15 where there seems to be a conversation around this very issue. How much does ah, how how Jewish are we asking people to be? Do they need to first become Jewish then to become Christian? Have we just misinterpreted that and said, hey we’ve thrown that that whole thing out? It wasn’t what… we weren’t saying was, yeah, it helped me understand that. What was going on there that maybe we’ve misunderstood from a ah Gentile, you know, Christian perspective?

Matt Davis — Well and the question 2000 years ago was all of the Jews in Acts 15, they’re asking the question, what do we do with these Gentiles who are now professing faith…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Matt Davis — …and wanting to follow Yeshua follow Jesus. And so this is the question they’re like do they need to get circumcised? And the Gentiles are saying, please no! Um, and now two thousand years later the question is the Gentiles, the church asking, what do we do with these Jews who are coming to faith? And so there is a reconciliation that we have to really pull together when it comes to not just the the Old Testament/New Testament. But what does it look like to bring together the Jewish people and the Gentiles? And and in scripture and unfortunately there’s a good segment of the church that says that God is done with the Jewish people. Um, but my my my firm conviction is that that you look at Romans 9, 10, and 11 that that the a Paul that’s telling us, he says may it never be that God has not cut them off. But then the role of the church is to bring them back. And and really this story is is ultimately about God and his people, and that the the church has been grafted into this beautiful story.

Rich Birch — Okay, cool. Very cool. Now what about, so I know so then from kind of the they say the first act, you know, perspective, I know that um, we talked about this before we even started the call, I do know that um Jewish thinkers ah, will often make pretty um, pointed statements around the messianic Jewish movement. And ah talk about it in pretty vile terms, around like hey it’s like the most anti-semitic thing going. Why is that? Help me understand, because that and when I’ve heard that I’m like well obviously I’m you know it’s like you don’t want to be the person hat’s like, you got it wrong, like you’re you know, like you don’t know what you’re saying. I’m like well wait a second isn’t that like now I’m just perpetuating the same kind of thing. If from why is it that some of our Jewish brothers and sisters have a strong reaction to um, you know and understand ah, even you know trying to to weave these two together, and and my outsider opinion or my outsider read on that is that that comes from the sphere of the Jewish world that we would hold a lot in common around a high value of scripture. They would have a high value of scripture as well. But and they’re coming to a conclusion that like hey this whole messianic Jew thing is like it’s not just like that’s a bad idea. It’s like that’s like an anathema to their faith. Why is that? Why do they why do our why did they land there?

Matt Davis — A friend of ours named Michael Brown, he’s an apologist. He’s in North Carolina. He wrote a book called Our Hands are Stained with Blood. And if you can actually go back over the history of the church and unfortunately it’s not a beautiful part of the the history of the church. But we have an anti-semitism that has taken place. Um I could never in in California we had the the crusades with Greg Laurie. I could never take a Jewish person to the crusades.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Matt Davis — Why? Because to the Jewish people…

Rich Birch — Because it was a crusade. Yeah.

Matt Davis — It was the crusade. They you have to deny like deny anything Jewish, get rid of the Torah, and you have to believe. And if you don’t, then we’re going to kill the fathers, rape the mothers, and, you know, throw the kids off the roof. Ah you have the Spanish Inquisition, you have the pogroms in Russia, all the way up until ah World War II and the holocaust. Jewish people today look at Christians and they, whether it’s right or not, this is their mindset. This is their perspective, is that even the Nazis were the ones that went to church on Sunday and the concentration camps on Monday. So for me to put my faith in Jesus, now I have become in their minds, a Christian.

Matt Davis — And now and so really like when you have to count the cost. It’s one thing to count the cost, but in some Jewish families for a Jew to become a follower of Yeshua, of Jesus ah, they will actually have a funeral for them, get rid of all their stuff and never speak to them again. So it’s it’s much harder for a a Jew to actually make that decision. Um case in point, Um, you’ve probably heard of the ah the Outpouring at Asbury which is right down the road from us.

Matt Davis — One of my good friends, he is a Jew. Um his name Zach Mier Kriebs. And and Zach comes from an orthodox Jewish family. His dad is an orthodox rabbi in New York. And and when Zach went to school, he stayed with a family who were Christians and really it started to challenge his faith and and kind of his notion of what a Christian was. And he was really contemplating and he talked to his family about this and they said um, Zach either ah become a Christian or stay Jewish but don’t be a messianic Jew. Because then you’re essentially alienating. And so really, what Zach did was he chose Jesus and he left Judaism. And the conversation that Zach and I have been having lately is how do we actually reintegrate his Judaism, his Jewish heritage roots, into this beautiful relationship with Jesus.

Rich Birch — So good. Well, let’s let’s talk about that. I have a very similar experience with ah you know I feel like I’ve led in churches that are, you know, life giving. They’re positive. Um, you know the kinds of places that you can come and be a part of regardless of your faith background. And um years ago had a very similar kind of conversation with a grown, adult woman who we had invited, friend of ours. We invited lots of times to church. And and and it was like you know we got this series coming up on parenting or like we got this, you know, series on whatever something going on. Like you should come to this. Like and eventually the conversation boiled down to like, listen I love your church. It looks like you guys do a great job. Like I love all the you’re doing like outreach stuff. You’re like making a difference in the community. Fun stuff happening.

Rich Birch — But and again this is a full-grown woman so, you know, as long as my mom and dad are alive, like if I was to just even come, man, the the amount of kind of shame that that would generate in the family, it’s just not not worth it. And and so for me and I’m out like listen I’m a professional Christian, this is why I want to learn from you, Matt, like I that was like a whole new idea. I was like oh, this is like there’s a whole bunch going on underneath of this that I just simply do not understand. So can you give us ah ah, give us a shorthand, you know, maybe even on the with the context of Holy Week. If we’re trying to make our churches be the kind of place where ah, you know we we don’t want to just disconnect from our Jewish roots but actually are open to that conversation, have that be a part of who we are, what what are some steps we should be taking? What should we be thinking about? How how should we be looking at this whole conversation?

Matt Davis — Yeah, I think it’s it’s looking at at scripture with a sense of ah the Jewishness of… I think one of the reasons that people love the show, The Chosen…

Rich Birch — Yep.

Matt Davis — …is we actually get to see Jesus, but in his Jewishness. I love…

Rich Birch — Yeah, true.

Matt Davis — …and I’m friends with some of the people who are advising that—but I love like even in the second episode ever, they they did a shabbat meal, right? What does it look like to actually enter into the sabbath and and to enter into the rest. What what I’m doing right now in this season is going to churches all over the country and we’re sharing a Passover seder. We’re walking people through, and it’s it’s understanding and making the connection.

Matt Davis — So I know lots of people that they will put a little mazuza on their doorpost, right? It’s the little, as you walk in, it’s a literal representation of Deuteronomy 6, which says you should write these words on your heart, but they should be on the doorposts of your house and your gates, right? To be able to incorporate these things that have deep meaning for us as believers as followers of Jesus but also it’s an invitation to be able to say like ah go go to a Jewish person and say like, hey I hear it’s Hanukah. Happy Hanukah! Or ah, you know, we we just celebrated the Passover. Um, and so it’s it’s having an understanding. And it’s not just for their benefit and for outreach sake but it actually is deepening us.

Matt Davis — And that is really, like even in this passion week, um, this is is significant. There’s tremendous opportunity and a lot of churches will open their doors, have us come in. We will do a seder, what we know as the last supper, is really the last Passover seder…

Rich Birch — It’s based on that. Yeah.

Matt Davis — …that Jesus ever had with his his disciples. So to be able to open up your church and and then invite the Jewish people in, and say we actually love the Jewish people. We stand with Israel and there are there are some places that we have intersection in our in our stories.

Rich Birch — Yeah, I love that. What when um I know in the past um we our church hosted a a um, a discussion series with some leaders at a local synagogue and we hosted folks for a meal. And um, it was wonderful, beautiful you know and it was really just a like hey we just want to get to know each other better. Let’s try to you know have a conversation. And um, you know, and it was I was like an executive pasture type person at that point. It was my job to like get the meal sorted out. And so I was like, well we clearly have to make sure that this is a kosher meal. And so I was interacting with a friend from the synagogue and I was like listen, I do do not want to step on a landmine here. I want to do this right. And so he was super gracious and you know helped us, you know, do all that, and you know we bless the kitchen and all that it was great. It was fantastic.

Rich Birch — Ah, but it but the thing to your point around The Chosen there is this, in a beautiful way, there’s like um, there’s all this subtext underneath that there’s like that we I think miss. We just wash over in our churches. We we just ignore that for whatever reason, and I think it’s not you know, probably not a good thing, particularly for our Jewish brothers and sister.

Rich Birch — As we think particularly about this time this kind of Easter season, are there ways, let’s say our church, maybe for next year, you know, it’s we you should not be thinking about whatever you’re doing for this weekend you should do for this weekend friends. But as you’re thinking about in the context of this weekend, would it would it be to like host a seder, what are some things we should be thinking about to to try to help open up our people’s minds around this area?

Matt Davis — Yeah, a lot of people will say, well we did do a seder, it was about ten years ago…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Matt Davis — …and we kind of checked off the Jew-box.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Matt Davis — And I said well you you did an Easter service last year, did you are you going to do it again this year, right?

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Matt Davis — So this is part of the rhythm and the flow of…

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Matt Davis — …of what we do and I think it’s it’s good for us to be able to keep it in front of our folks. The story that we’re telling right now is really the narrative of ah scripture is that there’s this throughline of it’s all about the Lamb. And I love like Genesis 22, Abraham and Isaac, they’re going up and to Mount Mariah. And the question that Isaac says is, uh, we we have the wood we have a fire where’s the where’s the sacrifice? And he says the lord will provide for himself a lamb.

Matt Davis — Fast forward to exodus and and now we’re getting through to the tenth plague and and Moses says on the tenth day of the month of Nisan ah, want you to take a perfect lamb without spotter blemish one year old male. And you’re going to on the tenth day of this month you’re going to bring it into your home and you’re going to test it and inspect it and scrutinize it to see if it actually is without spot and without blemish. And on the fourteenth day of the month you will sacrifice it at twilight you will take its blood put it on the doorposts of your house and your gates. Then the angel of death will come see the blood and pass over it, right?

Matt Davis — That’s the Exodus story, that’s act 1, but what we don’t realize is that when Jesus comes into Jerusalem on what we would call Palm Sunday or the Triumphal Entry, Jesus actually rides into Jerusalem on that exact same day – lamb selection day, the tenth of Nisan. And that’s significant, right? In in a lot of churches, and I’ve done this I’ve spoken this for years, but we say it’s Friday but Sunday’s a-coming. And some great churches will say it’s Sunday, but Friday’s coming.

Matt Davis — What we don’t realize is that if that’s the tenth of Nisan, the rest of the week Jesus is tried, inspected and scrutinized. Why? Because you’ll see in Matthew 21 and 22 and we have all the synoptics, but what we see is that Jesus is being confronted, really with the pharisees, sadducees, the scribes, elders, priests. They’re they’re asking these questions like um, well what do we do with ah who do we pay taxes to? Or in the resurrection who will this person be married to? And and what happens in every one of these interactions is Jesus gives them an answer, and in very typical fashion he answers the question with another question.

Matt Davis — But what is significant is at the end of every one of these interactions. It says stuff like they were astonished at his authority. They were amazed. They marveled. Um and then it says they dared not ask another question. They said nothing after that, all the way up until Pilate who says I see nothing wrong in this man. And therefore this Lamb, Jesus, who John said the behold the lamb who takes away the sins of the world, he was found to be without spot and without blemish and therefore on the fourteenth of that same month, at the same time that the lambs are being sacrificed in the temple, Jesus has been found worthy to be slain. And then it is his blood that is not applied to the doorpost. But upon another piece of wood, the cross, the cursed tree, and because of that when the Father looks at the blood, our sins are passed over, and we have salvation, we have life. I mean that story, how significant is that…

Rich Birch — Yeah, it’s amazing. Yeah.

Matt Davis — …to really connect those two all the way up until Revelation 5 where they’re looking who will open the scrolls? And says the Lamb, only the Lamb is worthy. This through line, if we miss that, and we’re just looking at act 1 or we’re just looking at act 2, we’re missing a massive part of the story.

Rich Birch — Yeah, that’s fascinating. Love that. And I think what a rich um, you know, reminder even for us as we’re in the midst of ah this week. Well, you know, we for friends I’m pulling back the curtain here a little bit. We we do on the podcast, we do this preparation process where, you know, we ask our guests to like you know, put some thoughts together and send ahead of time. And ah you wrote something in the prep that convicted me. And and I got to raise my hand and say I think you’re speaking about me. You talked about, you know, so I’m just going to read it to you and then I’m going to say “respond” because it’s like I I will need help. So you said if Jewish people don’t hear the gospel from the New Testament they don’t hear it from the New Testament Roman Road they they really need to to. They’re going. We need to we need to show it from the gospel from the Old Testament Jewish Road. Unfortunately, and this is the part that got me, most Christians, and worst, pastors, can share the gospel only from the New Testament but they cannot do it from the Old Testament. We can help and I was like oh that’s probably me. Like if you said to me hey talk about the coming lamb, and what he’s done, but you can only use the Old Testament, I think I would it would fall apart from me quickly. It would. Um and I’m sure there’s pastors that are listening in. So so comment. How can you help? What am I missing?Talk us through that.

Matt Davis — Yeah, I think a lot of well-meaning Christians, they want to see the Jewish people saved. They have a heart for Jewish people, and so what they will do is they will go to a Jewish person and they will take them down the Roman Road, right? And you know this, Romans 3:23 for all of sin fall short the glory of God. Romans 6:23 wages sin is death. And and then what the Jew’s going to say is you take me down that road, it’s going to lead to a dead end. They’re going to say, show me from my book. And so that was really the the genesis for us of we need to take them down a different path.

Matt Davis — And if I if I told we we actually were doing a trip, we were training house church pastors in Cuba this last year and we asked them the question. How many of you could share the gospel from the New Testament? And now everybody puts that hand up. So what if what if we just said you can only share the gospel using one book in the New Testament, could you do it? And everyone raised their hand again.

Rich Birch — Yeah Romans.

Matt Davis — What if you just had one verse, could you do that in the New Testament, you know? As long as I have John 3:16, I can make sense of something, right? I can make it happen. I said what if I said you can’t use the New Testament whatsoever. How many of you could actually share the gospel? Does the gospel even exist in the Old Testament in the tanakh, and and nobody could raise their hand and say they could do it. And so we’ve done our our church as a disservice and unfortunately like you ask a lot of pastors, I I know this because I went through seminary, we don’t train like this. But the gospel is very much so there. .

Matt Davis — And so um, you know one of the things I have on on this wrist here is I have the Roman Road and it’s it’s all on there. But we’re actually working on something I’m going to put one on my other wrist and it’s going to be the Jewish Road. Um God planned for salvation on on the Jewish Road. So you take stuff like Isaiah 61 that says that there is iniquity. We all have sinned. You can look at ah Ecclesiastes 7:22. You look at psalm 110. Ah, you could look at Genesis 3. Like ah there are so many passages in there all the way up until if you’ve got nothing, if you forget it all, just go to Isaiah 53.

Rich Birch — Okay, nice.

Matt Davis — But what what we’re trying to do is how do we equip the church to be able to share the gospel with the Jewish people, Jesus’s own biological family, from their book. And so that is that is our hope, that is really why we exist. And by us doing that for us as Jews to come to the Gentile church and say, this is how you do it um in the very same way that Paul was magnifying his ministry as he went to the Gentiles, we get to do the same thing. So we want to equip the church to know their roots and it’s again, it’s beautiful for us as believers, and it’s beautiful to actually be able to share the gospel, the good news. Um, so we actually have that if you go to um, we actually ah we walk through and say this is the Gospel. Um, but we’re also printing these out in Hebrew and we’re sending these to our partners in Israel that will link to a site that will actually take Jewish people who are reading Hebrew they’ll be able to read the gospel ah, in their own native tongue. So we’re pretty excited about that outreach opportunity.

Rich Birch — Yeah, that’s that’s fantastic. I think that’s a great um it’s a great exercise. it’s convicting and I think we you know we we should be thinking carefully about this and how do we how do we um, you know, like you say build up lead our leaders in a way that they could ultimately answer that. You’ve actually provided a pdf here that we’re gonna we’re gonna link to um that that walks through exactly that whole thing. It’s called The Prophet Speak: Uncovering God’s Plan of Salvation on The Jewish Road and it walks through exactly what you just talked about there, friends, if you’re looking for more detail on that. Um, but this is a great tool. You know a great obviously introduces you to The Jewish Road as well at the organization. But suggest, you’ve just clicked the link below. You’ll get access to that and um, we’ll make sure that you you get that ah resource.

Rich Birch — Well pivoting in a totally different direction. So I was supposed to be in Israel in May this year on where we’re gonna do the Jesus Trail hike. I was really looking forward to that and a part of what I was looking for was a slower experience through ah through Israel. That trip got canceled. Um. What are what should we be thinking about trips to Israel these days? Like it feels like and I don’t and I go back and forth whether and it was the the person we were working with they’re like I’m just not sure we should be going right now and they canceled. Um, what should we be thinking about that? You know I I had a friend years ago who said she studied in Israel for a while and she said, listen you should just go. There’s never a good time to go, but you should just go. Stop waiting for this perfect season. It feels like we’re in far less than a perfect season right now, obviously. Ah, but give us some coaching on that. It’s been a you know ah obviously key part of what you’ve done over the years. Help us think that through a little bit.

Matt Davis — Yeah, we were set to take 40 people to Israel on October 8th.

Rich Birch — Yeah, oh wow.

And we woke up on October 7th, the world changed.


Matt Davis — And I had you know everybody texting us. I had friends who were tour guides and friends in Israel who just got drafted. And they were driving to their their reserve spot in Israel. And so obviously that trip got canceled. Um the trip that we had planned for this month got canceled. The trip that we had for next month got canceled. Um, so I would say that really it it’s if it’s never a good time to go to Israel, then it’s always a good time to go to Israel. And I would say that my heart is that that I still want to go to Israel and we’re working on on what that looks like, but I want to go there and stand in solidarity with the people of Israel.

Matt Davis — And I know that it’s um, it’s it’s ah it’s a landmine. It feels like um how how do you possibly say that I stand with Israel and not come against Palestinian. It’s it’s a very politically charged issue right now. And here’s what I would say about that is if you watch mainstream media, and it doesn’t matter what you whether it’s Fox News or CNN or NewsMax all of those things. I guarantee you that if you watch those those programs you will come away either hating the Jewish people, or hating Arabs. And and really neither of those are are a good option. I believe that if we read the Bible and if we immerse ourself in what God actually says, I think that we will not only come out loving the Jewish people, but we will also come out loving the Arabs. And I think that that’s a biblical approach, and there’s some nuance that is needed with that. But we are going out there um, but it’s going to be a much different trip. But this is not going to be, hey, let’s go float in the Dead Sea and ride a camel and eat lots of…

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Matt Davis — …really great, you know, falafels and schwarma. Um, we we want to go there to, number one, we’re going to be seeing our partners and our friends who are are in the battle. We’re going to be meeting um, hostages who’ve come back. There are hostages that have come back. They’ve been freed and they just joined up and they’re they’re back on the front lines of the battle.

Rich Birch — Wow.

Matt Davis — Um, so we want to go there to stand, and I want to be able to say that the Christian community, the evangelical community in the United States still loves you and still cares. Um, and I have friends who are are Palestinians um, who are Christians and who hate what’s going on. Um, so I really think that it really divides into um John 10 is where I go with it is the the enemy comes to to steal, kill and destroy but I’ve come that you might have life and life abundantly. And it’s it’s really a division of those who love life and those who love death. And that’s where I believe we’re going to side with Jesus on that and nowhere else.

Matt Davis — But, yeah, absolutely, I think we should go. Um I think that if we can um love the people in there. Um, but you have to have a stomach for it, right? If you’re going to freak out and have a panic attack because there’s sirens going off, um this might not be the best time, but there are other ways to be involved and to support the Jewish people during these times.

Rich Birch — Yeah, I have a ah I would call him a good friend who lives in Israel. And you know and it’s an interesting um I and he and I text we’re probably on the every other week text plan. You know like we connect every once in a while and he’s got little kids. And um, you know, some of the videos that he has sent of like of like them literally at the park around the corner, playing, and then the iron dome alarms and all that going off, and then his kids scrambling and all that. I’m like I yeah well I get choked up, when I think about it. Because I’m like, man, it’s it’s a lot. And he’s he’s a great man, great father. Um, and ah you know, I know and he’s struggling. He’s and he’s a business owner and so he’s struggling with, okay, how do I what’s the best way to push forward and like how do we, you know, how do that’s all that it’s a complex situation and so… But that’s good. That’s good coaching. Appreciate that.

Rich Birch — Well kind of as we’re coming into land, what should we be thinking about where where’s our, you know, pull this all together, we’ve talked about a bunch of different stuff here. You know, pull this together. What should we be thinking about, Matt, as we think about ah how, you know, assume that there’s church leaders that are listening and are saying you know what I think this is an area I do need to help my my church um understand more clearly, be be um, you know better equipped on. What would be some first steps we should take just as we kind of bring today’s episode to a close?

Matt Davis — Yeah, as we go to different churches—I say we, my dad and I are doing this – my old man um…

Rich Birch — Love it.

Matt Davis — …going around and just sharing years of of ministry experience. He he was formerly a missionary with Chosen People Ministries – you may have heard of but um…You know I I think that there’s a fear that once you’ve been a pastor long enough that you should really know everything. And I remember like 10 years in getting asked a question like, and I’m like I I don’t know the answer to this. I’m going to stall and see if I can look it up on Wikipedia later. Um but I think sometimes people are a little bit nervous to bring us in, even because they don’t want to be found out that they don’t know all of this. Or how come you as a pastor haven’t been teaching us this. And what we want to do is we really want to be a resource for the church.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Matt Davis — I want to be a resource for pastors. Um, we just it it it was started as a joke, but we just we bought url – we want to be your go to Jews. And it just redirects to our website. So if you don’t remember … But really um, we want to be a resource and not just because you want another Hebrew tattoo and you want to make sure it says the right thing. But if you’re looking at a passage and you’re saying um, you know, what does this mean? What what is what are the roots of this? We want to be able to be a resource. We want to be able to help ah, to step into that space and say, man, there’s so much more to scripture. Let me show you where some of the hyperlinks are. And not that I even know it all or even my dad knows it all. But um, we’ve been on this journey for a long time and and we’ve we’ve tapped some of those hyperlinks.

Matt Davis — So we want to be able to be a resource. And so you’re looking for somebody to be able to bring context. What are the spring feasts? What are the fall feasts? What is Hanukkah and how does this connect to Christmas? Where are we at. We’re not we’re not condemning we want to be invitational to this and we want to be teachers and resources because I believe that if we can do this well um, then we will have a fullness of faith.

Rich Birch — Yeah, that’s wonderful. Well Matt appreciate you being here you gave it a couple uro urls which is great. I love that go to Jews – that’s fantastic. Ah, but – I would encourage people to take a look, sign up for all your stuff, get on the list. I think this is an area it should be a bubble it should be bubbling in our brains like, hey this is something we should be thinking about. Um where else we want to send people online if they want to connect with you or connect with the ministry?

Matt Davis — If you like podcasts we have a podcast.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Matt Davis — And we tell we tell jokes um on there. Jewish jokes. Jewish humor is a big part that even amidst suffering, and we are people that loves to suffer but we also love to have a little bit of fun in the midst of it. But my dad and I we have a podcast that really helps to outline a lot of this stuff. We just finished a hundred episodes and I’m you’re excited about that.

Rich Birch — Good for you – congratulations.

Matt Davis — So yeah, that’s a really great spot to go and just get educated and and learn a little bit more.

Rich Birch — Love it. And what is it just called The Jewish Road as well.

Matt Davis — Yeah Jewish Road podcast.

Rich Birch — Jewish Road podcast – great so much. Great. Thank you so much. We really appreciate you being here, Matt. Appreciate being on the show and yeah, thanks so much for for being here today.

Matt Davis — Thanks, Rich.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.