‘What I Read Today;
2 Thessalonians 2; John 4; Isaiah 39; Psalm 72; Deuteronomy 7-8
There are so many programs out there that will teach you how to witness to someone. Most require you to memorize multiple passages in a way that leads a person to understand that he is a sinner and that God cannot have sin in his presence. Once a person has “broken,” then he is led to the cross of Christ for forgiveness and asked to make a “decision” for Christ.
How does Jesus lead a sinner to himself? Let’s look at John 4 and see.
Step 1 – In Verses 1-6, Jesus goes where sinners are. He steps outside of the church, and he goes to Samaria. Jews did not go to Samaria. They viewed them as second class citizens. People not worthy of the knowledge of God. Jesus walked right into their land and started engaging people.
Step 2 – In Verse 7, Jesus engaged a sinner in a conversation. Let’s not forget that he spoke to a woman first. He went right to the place where people needed to hear about him first. This was unheard of by the Jewish people of the day. Especially, engaging a woman in this type of conversation. How dare Jesus do such a foolish thing! But Jesus wasn’t on this earth to please the religious establishment. No, he had come to reach out to sinners and show them the mercy of a loving God.
Step 3 – In Verses 8-15, Jesus offers Grace. Every training I’ve ever attended said you don’t provide Grace until the sinner repents. Yet, Jesus leads off with Grace? Jesus knows that most people already have a fear of God. Most already feel unworthy of even looking at Jesus. So he leads off with Grace to this woman who he knows needs to hear of God’s love. Some people need to be broken by the law. That’s a fact. But too often, I think we lead with the law, not understanding that the person in front of us is already broken and only needs to hear the Gospel. Jesus understood this.
Step 4 – In Verses 16-18, he gently points out her sin. He doesn’t beat her up. He simply and quietly states the facts. Then he doesn’t bring it up again. Jesus does this so gently that she almost doesn’t notice what he’s done. Sin is all around us. People are searching for answers in their lives. While I believe we should point out the sin in our society, which gives us a lot to talk about, in the one on one, we need to be careful and if we are going to make a mistake, making a mistake on the side of Grace isn’t the wrong way to go.
Step 5 – In Verses 19-24, Jesus disavows religious elitism. When she brings up her objections about the church, Jesus tells her that it’s not about the church, it’s about Jesus. People have been hurt by people inside of the church. That’s a fact. That’s why we point people to Jesus, not a building. The church is imperfect because human beings are imperfect. If we focus on the hurts or slights that have happened to us while being members of a specific church, then we will continue to miss the point. The church isn’t about one particular liturgy or worship, it’s about Jesus.
Step 6 – In verses 25-26, Jesus introduces himself as her savior. Note, she hasn’t fallen to her knees in repentance. No, Jesus didn’t demand that. He simply says, “I’m your savior.” The idea of witnessing is to introduce people to Jesus, not breaking them into pieces.
If we followed Jesus’ example, how much impact could we have on the world around us?