By Nathan Washburn
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Greenbrier
The earthly ministry of Jesus was a unique time in history as the Son of God walked the streets and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Those who knew about Him had the opportunity to bring others to Him (Andrew and Peter — John 1:40-42, Philip and Nathanael — 43-45). They then could hear His message for themselves, see Him do miracles, observe His grace and truth, and believe (or not).
That unique window of opportunity closed with Jesus’ ascension back to the Father. We can no longer bring people to Jesus. Instead we have a new opportunity — to bring Jesus to people. When He ascended, Jesus did not leave us alone, but He gave us the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us (John 14:17) and bears the fruit of witnessing about Jesus through us as we abide in Him (John 15:26-27).
As we think through bringing Jesus to people and calling the attention of people to notice Him and trust in Him, we will do well to imitate the ministry of John the Baptist (minus the camel hair and locusts). Here are a few things that will help us share Christ faithfully and (hopefully) fruitfully.
Confess who you aren’t. We are not the Christ. This may seem an obvious thing, but it’s key to know and regularly confess. When John came on the scene, many began to wonder who he was — the Christ? Elijah? A prophet? Nope. He called himself a “voice,” a reference to the messianic passage in Isaiah 40. He was one who called out to make straight the way of the Lord (Isaiah 40:3). We too are simply a voice, and whereas John went before Jesus to draw people’s attention to Him, we come after Him to do the same.
Magnify who Jesus is. Jesus was and is the Christ, the Savior of the world — and John made sure people knew how high and exalted He was. He claimed he was not even worthy to untie His sandal (John 1:27). Servants did the work of loosing sandals and washing feet, but John said he wasn’t even worthy to be a servant to Him, which is staggering considering he was His relative (Luke 1:36, 41). We must magnify Jesus as who He is — the Son of God, worthy of the honor and devotion of every person on the planet.
Tell of His finished work. “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). This was the constant tune that John trumpeted. The high and lofty Christ, who knew no sin, had descended and become man in order to take our sin away from us and onto Himself. As a lamb was slain in order to make propitiation, so this Jesus of Nazareth would make propitiation for us. This is the gospel. This is evangelism. We don’t share tips to turn over a new leaf or become a better person or try harder or run faster. We tell of the finished work of Christ — the work of the innocent Lamb of God becoming accursed for us, receiving the wrath of God in one heavy death blow, and then being raised back up to life and exalted above all else.
Invite others to behold Him. Behold. See. Look. This is a welcomed offer to take a front seat to the majesty of the Son of God. He is magnified. He takes away the sin of the world. Now, behold Him. Look to Him. Trade your sin for His righteousness. Have your mourning turned to joy. Find forgiveness for your failure, peace for your fear, and healing for your hurt. This is how we share Christ.