Tag Archives: Evangelism

Three Little Words

Christians are losers.  That’s what I used to think.  Uptight, repressed people, afraid to have fun.  So when my brother tried to tell me about Jesus, my responses were laced with sarcasm and scorn.  Maybe you can relate – either to my attitude or to how my brother must have felt.  If so, spend a moment or two considering an exchange between a man who had just met Jesus and his friend:

45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”  (John 1:45-46)

You’ve seen those signs that proudly announce that this town is the birthplace of some famous person?  Nazareth apparently didn’t have one of those.  But I suppose Nathanael’s snippy response was about more than that.  I suspect at some point Nathanael had been burned by believing something that turned out to be a hoax.  He may well have thrown out that sarcastic remark as a way of defending himself against being fooled again.  That would have been why I said it.  No matter why he said it, it probably put Philip off.  He might have been tempted to say, “Well, just forget it; you’re probably right.”

But he didn’t.  His response was elegant in it’s simplicity and effectiveness.  He said, “Come and see.”  Check Him out for yourself.  No need to try to prove it to his friend.  All he needed to do was simply invite his friend to come, to come and see.  I’m going to have to remember that.  There have been many times when my response to a sarcastic doubter was to try and prove Who Jesus is.  Perhaps you know that’s a response that rarely works and usually left me feeling frustrated and inadequate.  Philip intuitively knew Jesus could do His own proving, that he, Philip, didn’t need to do that part.  His role was to simply invite his friend.

“Come and see.”

Hearing is not Believing

It puzzles me when people play adventure video games by looking up the answers and cheats online, instead of figuring them out.  If someone tells them the answer, they can’t enjoy the experience of discovering it.

Bear that concept in mind and consider this: At His trial, Jesus’ accusers said,

If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, (Luke 22:67)

When Jesus said “If I tell you you will not believe,” perhaps He was not accusing them but helping them. Coming to faith in Jesus is not simply hearing about Him from someone telling us. Believing is something we do. Believing is more than merely knowing the right answers. It cannot be done to us or for us; it is a personal adjustment. And without that personal change, the life-giving relationship with Jesus is impossible. Perhaps ,Jesus could have told them the answer but did not, in order to give them the opportunity to come to a personal belief in that answer.

He said to Peter, “You are blessed because you didn’t hear this from someone else but received it from the Holy Spirit.” The process of leading people to faith must leave room for them to discover the truth in a personal way and believe without being spoon-fed all the answers.