Monday, June 15, 2015

Reflections on Witnessing – III

Who are we bringing to Jesus?

In John Chapter One we read:

“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!”

“Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples, and looking at Jesus he said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him speak and they followed Jesus.”

“One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon…and he brought him to Jesus.”

“The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow Me’…Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found Him…come and see.’ “

John the Baptist points to Jesus and two of John’s disciples follow Jesus. One of those men, Andrew, finds his brother Simon Peter and brings him to Jesus.

Jesus finds Philip and tells Philip to follow Him, and Philip finds Nathanael and brings him to Jesus.

John the Baptist is pointing to Jesus, Andrew is pointing to Jesus, Philip is pointing to Jesus. Note that for Andrew and Philip following Jesus means bringing along others to follow Jesus. Andrew finds his brother and brings him; Philip finds his friend and brings him.

The Gospel is about Jesus, the Bible is about Jesus; Jesus Christ is the central focus of the Bible and the Gospel message, so much so that Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” So much so that Paul writes, “He is before all things, and through Him all things consist (are held together).” So much so that John begins his Gospel by writing, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

Our measure of witnessing to others about Jesus Christ is often the measure of our view of Jesus Christ; and it is often the measure of our relationship with Jesus Christ.

If Jesus Christ is a figurehead of a religion or philosophy, then while it might be nice for others to be aware of Him, it is not imperative; in this case Jesus stands alongside other philosophers and leaders of other movements, whether they are philosophical, religious, political, or social. Considering the way much of Christianity remakes Jesus in its own image, He is treated much like Colonial Sanders of KFC is treated – his image is modified to suit the tastes of consumers.

A man married to a woman whom he does not love is unlikely to talk about her in glowing terms to others. A woman married to a man with whom she has a poor relationship is unlikely to extol his virtues to others. On the other hand, a spouse deeply in love with his or her spouse is highly likely to speak of her or him to others for marriage is central to that person’s life. When Jesus is central to our lives, when He is our Alpha and Omega, then we are more likely to do as John the Baptist, Andrew, and Philip did – to point to Him, to follow Him, and to bring others to Him.

Witnessing should be a natural outflow of our relationship with Jesus Christ and if it is not we should ask ourselves “why?”

Keep in mind that we are talking about pointing people to Jesus; not pointing people to agendas, not pointing people to spiritual experiences, not pointing people to personal fulfillment, not pointing people to political or social programs or issues, not pointing people to doctrinal “distinctives” that may exist in our religious tradition. No matter how important we may think many of the foregoing are, and they may indeed be important, none of them compare with Jesus Christ – and it is Jesus and Jesus alone that we are to tell others about. Once people come to know Jesus then we can engage in discipleship – but even there we must insist that discipleship be about Jesus, about being transformed into His image and not our image nor the image of our tradition nor the image of our agenda…nor the image of anything or anyone else.

Is anyone following me or my tradition or my doctrinal distinctives? Then let me be like John the Baptist and point him to Jesus. Do I have a brother or sister or other family member who does not know Jesus? Then let me be like Andrew and find him and bring him to Jesus. Do I have a friend or acquaintance who does not know Jesus? Then let me be like Philip and find him and bring him to meet Jesus. I cannot be said to be following Jesus like Andrew or Philip if I am not bringing others to Jesus and to Jesus alone.

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