The Influence of Jhan Moscowitz on Mauck & Baker's Bible Study

Jhan Moscowitz (1948-2012) Jews for Jesus missionary and Chicago director helped lead a Bible study for attorneys with John Mauck.

Mauck & Baker’s Bible study is a varied assembly of followers of Jesus who work in downtown Chicago and love to study the Bible. The Bible study has existed for nearly 36 years teaching through the Bible, mostly trying to share the truth of the Messiah with people working in downtown Chicago.

The first time I shared the Gospel with anyone was around 1978 when I worked at Friedman & Mauck. I had only been a Christian for about two years. In the midst of real estate negotiations with an attorney, Nick Papoutsis, I felt God convicting me to speak about my faith. It turned out to be a God-ordained conversation. Nick had met Billy Graham earlier that week, and he promised to pray that Nick would commit his life to Christ. Nick became a Christian soon after our discussion and the two of us began meeting weekly to study the Bible.

Around the time we started meeting regularly, I became acquainted with Jhan Moscowitz, former-Jewish-hippie-turned-Jesus-follower. Jhan’s radical conversion to Christianity in the early ‘70’s was the part of the revolution of Jewish youth who became believers and founded Jews for Jesus, a international organization dedicated to bringing Jesus to the Jewish community. He and his wife Melissa moved to Chicago as missionaries for Jews for Jesus and were looking to connect with believers in the Loop.

We immediately hit it off, and I invited Jhan to join our Bible study. I knew little about the Bible since I was a new believer, so after stumbling through Luke for a week or two, I asked Jhan to step in and lead. He was happy to oblige and said he had been waiting for me to ask him to take over! Over the next year or two, under Jhan’s teaching, the study grew steadily and we moved to the building conference room when the one in our office was too small to accommodate.

Jhan taught the Bible study alternating between Old Testament and New Testament books. First, an individual would read the verses of a particular chapter aloud then Jhan would spend forty minutes exploring the text. Finally, he would conclude his exegesis with a loud ‘SO WHAT!?’ in the last five minutes. Everyone would have an opportunity to share how the passage applied to their lives.

Jhan moved to New York in the mid 80’s and several of Jews for Jesus staff, including current Executive Director David Brickner, picked up the Bible study where Jhan left off. Tom Cameron, another Loop attorney who became an Elder at the Jesus People, and I both taught on the gift of the Spirit and our group experienced many miraculous healings. Jhan returned to Chicago four years later and resumed as the primary teacher of the Bible study. Jews for Jesus founder leaves legacy of Bible teaching with Chicago Loop attorneys Jhan Moscowitz (1948-2012) Jews for Jesus missionary and Chicago director helped lead a Bible study for attorneys with John Mauck.

Jhan taught through Acts three times, always finding a different way to interpret the book. Before he left he had first taught Acts as a “missionary book” based on the verse from Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

In Acts 16, Jhan taught about Paul’s imprisonment for casting a demon out of a girl which helped me experience a deliverance from my own reluctance to confront judges and others in authority when they were wrong.

He taught Acts for the final time in 1995 or 1996, saying it was not a “missionary book” but rather about the “universality of the gospel” and “other legal stuff ”. It was a challenging concept for all the lawyers in the Bible study to grasp. Jhan could never quite reconcile the two, but his musings would later become the foundation for my book Paul on Trial, the Book of Acts as a Defense of Christianity, and I am grateful for a mentor to help me challenge my understanding of Acts and to model how a humble, teachable attitude could allow me to learn.

In 2005, Jhan and Melissa were permanently relocated to New York City to train new missionaries. Whit Brisky, Noel Sterett, and I took over the Bible study. Jhan died in 2012, but he is still remembered as a brilliant teacher and we continue his legacy of Bible teaching through the Friday study.

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