“A young Messianic Jewish adult and the challenges to face”
By Joey Stepakoff
My name is Joey Stepakoff, I am 23 years old and I live in Palm Harbor, Florida.
Being a young adult in the Messianic Jewish movement comes with a great deal of responsibility. The future of this revival movement rests in the hands of young Messianics. The call of God is irrevocable and, therefore, there is a divine necessity to keep this fire going.
I can speak to this because I myself am a young Messianic Jewish adult in this movement. As a Jew, I belong to a people whose history defies all forms of logic and whose formation goes all the way back to Abraham.
As a Messianic Jew, there is a unique calling upon my life to be among that part of the Jewish people who know that Yeshua is the Messiah. It is definitely a challenge, and this is true for all young adults—both Jewish and non-Jewish—who are called to the Messianic movement. As a young Messianic Jew, I have a great responsibility to live in response to that calling.
I was born into this movement. Even though I was raised in a Messianic Synagogue led by my parents my entire life, I assure you that this did not guarantee my future as a Messianic Jew. Faith is not really faith if it is not your own.
Take, for instance, myself as an example. My faith became my own when I was 19 years old. In the summer of 2016 at the MJAA’s Messiah Conference, I encountered God in a way that I never had previously. This ignited something within me that forever aligned my heart not only with God Himself, but also with what He is doing in this day and age with His People—my People—Israel.
As a Messianic Jew, in accord with the unique calling upon my life, there is a great
importance to reach my Jewish brothers and sisters with the Good News of Messiah Yeshua. We stem from an ancient nation of Israelites, the same nation that was the first in human history to witness God reveal Himself like never before. We also stem from the same nation of people that first witnessed Yeshua walk the earth. Jews have had the privilege of being tasked with keeping and recording the sayings of God throughout the ages. And this task did not just include the Tanakh, but New Covenant as well.
Yeshua is written about all throughout the Scriptures. He was the Messiah promised to our people long ago. And it must be said that while He did come for the salvation of the entire world. He first came to His Jewish brothers and sisters. I, as a member of the modern-day Messianic Jewish revival, therefore have a divine calling to be an outreach arm to the Jew first, and also to the nations. As Paul so truthfully states:
“For if their rejection leads to the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” – Romans 11:15
Part of my duty as a young Messianic Jew is to increase in knowledge of the scriptures—Why? In order to reach my people. I, like many other young Messianic Jews, need to reach Jewish people, and in order to do this, we need to be able to relate culturally and religiously. And it is becoming increasingly common knowledge that the Brit Chadasha (New Covenant) were all written by Jewish people! These early, Jewish Yeshua-followers saw the promises of God fulfilled in Messiah Yeshua. They did not see Israel replaced nor a new religion created. Rather, they witnessed the promises to our Patriarchs fulfilled and proclaimed that the most Jewish thing a Jew can do is believe in Yeshua our Messiah.
It is, unfortunately, so incredibly easy for young people to be swayed away from the Gospel message and this end-time move of God’s Spirit. I would venture to say that most of my generation wants nothing to do with God. But I also believe that I, like many other young Messianics, have been put in this tough position on purpose. Light shines brightest in the dark.God is greatly glorified in victory.
Yeshua spoke two incredible prophecies in the New Covenant that have both come to pass:
“Now learn the parable from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near”
– Matthew 24:32 TLV
“They will fall by the edge of the sword and be ledaway captive into all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
– Luke 21:24 TLV
If this is true (which it is) then the Messianic Jewish Movement is the most important movement going on right now in the world. Weare an end-time movementand a testimony to the goodness of God’s word, spoken through our Messiah. This is especially important for us young people to grasp, considering that we will be the ones to carry this movement to where it is prophetically destined to go in the future, in line with our unique calling from God. That said, this is a movement for both the young and old, and it will not turn into a “battle of the generations” but rather encourage and require cooperation:
“So it will be afterward,I will pour out My Ruach on all flesh:your sons and daughters will prophesy,your old men will dream dreams,your young men will see visions.”
– Joel 3:1 TLV (emphasis added)
The entire believing world really needs to pay attention to and preach about what God is doing with Israel—for these are the final days. As prophesied long ago, the Lord is regathering the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And it is worth noting that the major anchor of prophetic outpouring is found within the Messianic Synagogue.
The end-time revival of Israel is the one and only revival which can be read about in the Bible. This is vital because it plainly tells young adults like myself that God is not finished with Israel. It is here we will raise our children, and our children’s children, as we actively live out New Covenant life in Messiah… until the day He returns. When a prophetic outpouring is happening, you don’t want to step out of it, but step into it!
Whileit may be easy to lose sight of the vision, especiallyfor young Messianics, we all need to remember that this is our calling, in line with God’s prophetic end-time plan.
Our faith is however gradually growing in acceptance within the Jewish community, especially in Israel.We can debate whether it is due to the increasing knowledge of the Jewishness of Yeshua, the charitable work being done by organizations such as the Joseph Project, the advocacy work by Alliance for Israel Advocacy on Capitol Hill, God’s prophecy unfolding, or a combination of all of these and more.
As we eagerly await His return, though we don’t know the precise day or hour, we know it is near. Therefore, we as young Messianic adults must press on, staying true to the vision, and our calling. We must keep running the race, carrying the Messianic Jewish torch onward, for the salvation and restoration of Israel.
We are closer now than ever before. Revival had begun!