Should We Always Tell Everyone about Jesus? (Y1.T1.D43)
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My answer is, “No.”
Surprised? I was.
Looking back, there have been times in my life I should not have pushed my thoughts about Jesus on others. This goes against every sermon on the Great Commission—“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19–20)—and when Jesus tell us we are to be witnesses “to the uttermost parts of the earth" in or Act 1:8.
But what if “making disciples” and “witnessing” isn’t about telling everyone always about Jesus?
During his ministry, Jesus told demons (like in today’s passages) and those he healed to not tell others who he was. At other times, people—like the Samaritan woman at the well—were permitted to proclaim it. Theologians have many theories about Jesus' motives, but I don’t want to theorize.
I want to examine my own experience.
When I accepted Jesus as my Savior, God spun my life 180 degrees. And every day since then, he has given me a full and abundant life. Because of my relationship with Jesus, I’ve had peace amid the most difficult times. So why wouldn’t I spend every waking hour shouting his name from the rooftops?
The answer? Because we are called to be wise.
In an earlier post, I mentioned my sister, who is ordained in a non-Christian church. What I didn’t share in that blog—but will share now—is that my zeal for Jesus eventually pushed her away. At least a decade before her ordination, she actively listened to and enjoyed Dr. Charles Stanley on the radio. One evening we argued about Jesus being the only way to salvation and I told her Dr. Stanley would agree with me. She stopped listening to him.
While it is wise to proclaim who Jesus is in churches, on radio stations, or in this blog—it was unwise to open my mouth with my sister. She never asked for my opinion. She voluntarily tuned in to the radio program. In fact, she was actively enjoying the messages of Jesus from this great preacher while our history made me the wrong messenger. My zeal to correct her ideas became a stumbling block between her and a voice she trusted.
The world would view Christianity more positively if we showed some of the restraint Paul recommended in Ephesians 4:1–3: “Walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love, being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
The best evangelists are gentle. They start with a question, “Do you mind if I talk to you about something?” And if the person says, “No, thank you,” they simply walk away without hate or anger in their hearts.
Going into all the world and making disciples doesn’t always require “telling.” When asked, we should never deny our love for Jesus, but when others show disinterest, the most powerful sermon preached isn’t said with words. Whenever we share our testimonies, we should remember to ask for wisdom. God will reveal not only to whom and when, but how we should present our salvation story.
Wisdom Is the Best Voice
7 Jesus withdrew to the sea with his disciples; and a great multitude followed him from Galilee, from Judea, 8 from Jerusalem, from Idumaea, beyond the Jordan, and those from around Tyre and Sidon. A great multitude, hearing what great things he did, came to him. 9 He spoke to his disciples that a little boat should stay near him because of the crowd, so that they wouldn’t press on him. 10 For he had healed many, so that as many as had diseases pressed on him that they might touch him. 11 The unclean spirits, whenever they saw him, fell down before him and cried, “You are the Son of God!” 12 He sternly warned them that they should not make him known. (Mark 3:7–12)
1 Doesn’t wisdom cry out?
Doesn’t understanding raise her voice?
2 On the top of high places by the way,
where the paths meet, she stands.
3 Beside the gates, at the entry of the city,
at the entry doors, she cries aloud:
4 “I call to you men!
I send my voice to the sons of mankind.
5 You simple, understand prudence!
You fools, be of an understanding heart!
6 Hear, for I will speak excellent things.
The opening of my lips is for right things.
7 For my mouth speaks truth.
Wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness.
There is nothing crooked or perverse in them.
9 They are all plain to him who understands,
right to those who find knowledge.
10 Receive my instruction rather than silver,
knowledge rather than choice gold.
11 For wisdom is better than rubies.
All the things that may be desired can’t be compared to it.
12 “I, wisdom, have made prudence my dwelling.
Find out knowledge and discretion.
13 The fear of Yahweh is to hate evil.
I hate pride, arrogance, the evil way, and the perverse mouth.
14 Counsel and sound knowledge are mine.
I have understanding and power.
15 By me kings reign,
and princes decree justice.
16 By me princes rule,
nobles, and all the righteous rulers of the earth.
17 I love those who love me.
Those who seek me diligently will find me.
18 With me are riches, honor,
enduring wealth, and prosperity.
19 My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold,
my yield than choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
in the middle of the paths of justice,
21 that I may give wealth to those who love me.
I fill their treasuries.
22 “Yahweh possessed me in the beginning of his work,
before his deeds of old.
23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning,
before the earth existed.
24 When there were no depths, I was born,
when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled in place,
before the hills, I was born;
26 while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields,
nor the beginning of the dust of the world.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there.
When he set a circle on the surface of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above,
when the springs of the deep became strong,
29 when he gave to the sea its boundary,
that the waters should not violate his commandment,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30 then I was the craftsman by his side.
I was a delight day by day,
always rejoicing before him,
31 rejoicing in his whole world.
My delight was with the sons of men.
32 “Now therefore, my sons, listen to me,
for blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction, and be wise.
Don’t refuse it.
34 Blessed is the man who hears me,
watching daily at my gates,
waiting at my door posts.
35 For whoever finds me, finds life,
and will obtain favor from Yahweh.
36 But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul.
All those who hate me love death.” (Proverbs 8:1–36)
Thank You for forgiving me for all the times I've become a stumbling block in another person's path. Thank You also for replacing my foolishness with Your wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:27, 30). Now that I know better, help me do better. I want to pay attention to my actions and my teachings because this can save both myself and those around me (1 Timothy 4:16). I know that salvation belongs to You (Jonah 2:9).
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