“And Jesus went throughout all cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.”
There are two assumptions we must believe before I continue:
- What Jesus did in his earthly days is to be exactly what we are supposed to do as His followers. (Matthew 10, Mark 16, Matthew 28)
- Evangelism is a responsibility expected of all believers, especially in the context of a community. There is no gift of evangelism.
Jesus is seen here going throughout all the cities and villages, bringing the kingdom of God to where they were. And everywhere he went, the power and the culture of the kingdom of God flourished.
People are hearing the gospel of the kingdom, people are being healed by the name of the King, people are being encouraged, edified, awed, and radically transformed. This, at least to me, is painfully not indicative of my life experience as a Christian witness.
You see, I grew up in an environment where evangelism was for the most part passive.
Bring your friends to church and let them come to us in our context, in our culture, in our Christian jargon, hear a message and be changed. Granted- God has done some amazing work through this. And I don’t look down upon it in itself, but I want us to think about the implications of what that means if that is the prominent way we evangelize in our Christian communities.
One, it fosters an environment where the responsibilities for preaching the good news of Jesus has been shifted to others (vaguely), other than myself. The program is responsible for bringing people to Christ. Or the pastor is responsible for bringing people to Christ. Or the evangelist. Just not me. Let’s just sit in our chairs and wait for people to come to church, and hopefully, to Christ.
Two, it confuses the purpose of what happens when Christians actually get together. Is this meeting for believers or non-believers? Why is the message so watered-down? Why aren’t disciples really being made in church? are some questions that I am often left with in some church services.
Look and examine what Jesus does as the work of the church.
He goes himself to people’s places, to people’s hoods, to people’s cribs, to people’s workplaces, to people’s play places, call it what you will, wherever people are different than his own, and he brings the kingdom of God to them. Key word- TO THEM.
He physically goes from the place he WAS and goes to where THEY are.
That’s a big difference.
Evangelism is not them coming to us, evangelism is us going to them.
It is us, as we are all individually responsible and called to preach the good news of the kingdom of God, going to the places where the gospel of the kingdom isn’t preached and preaching it to them. How else will they hear?
While doing so, we are to do the primary things in Jesus’ ministry. Which are…. preaching, teaching, and healing.
We are to preach to people. We are to teach people. We are to heal people in Jesus’ name.
The kingdom of God is presented with authority. It is presented with truth. And it is presented with supernatural power. No, not your personality, not your charisma, not your presentation. But presented as physical eyes are opened, deaf are hearing, dead are raising, crippled are walking, lives are changing, etc..
This is what is means to do evangelism. To GO OUT and bringing the kingdom of God for all its worth, to OTHERS.