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Evangelize Like Jesus

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10

The Gravity of It All

There is a quite breathtaking and insightful scene I remember from the movie “Gravity.” In the movie, Sandra Bullock plays an astronaut whose spaceship has malfunctioned. After a series of bold attempts to reorbit back into earth, the reality sets in that she won’t make it. Her single-person space-craft is inescapably being thrust further and further into the dark abyss of space. Soon her oxygen level will reach zero, her carbon dioxide level will become too high, the power will shut down, and the freezing cold outside will kill her. Death is staring her in the face and time has become a cruel punisher. There is nothing she can do but await it to overtake her as she experiences her last moments in sadness, grief, and loneliness. When she realizes her predicament, she utters some quite profound statements.

These are her words: “I know we’re all gonna die, everybody knows that. But I’m gonna die today. Funny that, ya know.. to know, but the thing is is that I’m still scared. I’m really scared. Nobody will mourn for me, no one will pray for my soul. Will you mourn for me? Will you say a prayer for me? Or is it too late.  I mean I’d say one for myself but I’ve never prayed in my life, so….nobody ever taught me how…nobody ever taught me how.”

We’re Much the Same

There are millions of people all over the world that, like Sandra Bullock’s character, are heading toward a dark, unending blackness and darkness. Not just faceless millions, but people all around you. People you see on the road, at the grocery store, at work, at school. People who have never come to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and who, as a result, are destined for eternal destruction, doom, and torment; the most horrible fate which is eternal separation from a good, perfect, and just God. These people are longing for a person to share the hope that is in Jesus Christ; they are waiting for a messenger to bring them good news; they are waiting for a vocal Christian like you and me.

An Intentional Example

Even Jesus Christ Himself was intentional about evangelizing. In the entire account of Luke 19:1-10, it begins “He entered Jericho and was passing through.” Why had Jesus taken such circuitous routes to Jerusalem? Why had he not taken the straightest path if he was so intent on getting to Jerusalem the fastest way? Could it be that Jesus was intent on accomplishing a few things first? Accomplishing something like seeking out Zaccheus in order to grant him salvation before going up to Jerusalem to suffer his death? It sure sounds like Jesus had such a purpose, for “When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, ‘Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”

Zaccheus joyfully received salvation that fateful day. His regeneration was evidenced by his radically changed actions. Zaccheus had certainly conducted himself like a child (as he climbed a tree to see Jesus), and it is exactly such humility that people must have in order to receive the kingdom of God (Luke 18:16-17). And even though Zaccheus was a rich man, God showed that things that are impossible with people are possible with Him (Luke 18:25-27). Jesus revealed that it was hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, but Zaccheus certainly entered the kingdom. How? All because a faithful servant, Jesus Christ, intentionally sought out a man with whom to share the kingdom of God. Upon His death, Jesus secured the salvation for “whosoever believes” and inaugurated the kingdom of God. His kingdom is one that is here already but not yet complete. A mission stands before us today to spread the gospel through the enabling and emboldening power of the Holy Spirit.  And Jesus Christ serves as our model. Imagine the pressure in Jesus’ last days; knowing his death was imminent, he had such limited time to teach the disciples important last  lessons to carry on after his death. As one of those messages, He demonstrated intentionality in evangelizing to sinners, and if that was not enough, he outright said his purpose: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

What About You?

Do you share the same passion for evangelism? I have often felt overwhelmed by the thought of trying to talk to people about Jesus. Sometimes when I anticipate evangelizing, I talk myself out of it  because I imagine the person asking a question that I don’t know the answer to. Recently, however, I have resolved to “jump into the deep end.” I know the gospel message (1 Cor. 15:3-4) and have the Holy Spirit within me to give me boldness and clarity. I am ready to test the waters and be obedient to Christ’s great commission. If I seek to make disciples and immerse people in the teachings of God, then I must first initiate the conversation.

So what if I fail? God does not judge us based on our performance or success, but rather on our faithfulness and obedience to Him. If we are to be faithful and obedient, we must embody the same purpose with which Christ came: to seek the lost and leave the salvation aspect to God.

by Cameron Penrose
CCBS Student