Who Told You?

“The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’ When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.” —John 1:35-37

I recently read that currently 2.2 billion people worldwide identify themselves as Christians. That is an impressive number, especially considering the many Christians that have previously walked this earth and have gone on to glory in the last 2,000 plus years. However, one must remember that even though Christianity began with a small following, prompted by the Holy Spirit and by word of mouth, followers of Jesus passed on the good news about Him being the Messiah to the people who crossed their paths. 

In John 1:35-51, John the Baptist points two of his own disciples to Jesus as Jesus passed by. These two men, Andrew and John, decided to follow Him to where He was staying.

After spending several hours with Jesus, they were both convinced He was the Messiah and that nothing would be the same ever again.

Soon after, the first thing Andrew did was to tell his brother Peter about his encounter with Jesus. Later, Jesus also met with Phillip, who went on to tell his friend Nathanael (also known as Bartholomew) about Jesus. These five men (Andrew, John, Peter, Phillip, and Nathanael) were the first disciples of Jesus.

As we see in Scripture, the men who followed Jesus simply told their family and friends about Him. They knew that something about Jesus had changed their lives, and they wanted other people around them to have that experience as well. All they did was to simply invite, “Come, see for yourself” (v. 46, NLT).

This simple task of spreading the Good News is as effective today as it was for Andrew and John. Now, regardless of the many resources available to spread the gospel at a faster pace, modern-day Christians sometimes fail to take up this task consistently and seriously. We make excuses and shy away from sharing the story of our Savior with others. We worry about inappropriateness in certain settings, inconvenience, and lack of receptivity from our listeners. In a way, by focusing on our comforts, aren’t we wasting opportunities to share the Good News with the people we encounter daily?

The apostle Peter reminds followers of Christ to have a sense of urgency when it comes to telling others the hope they have in Jesus (see 1 Peter 3:15).

Who is the first person that told you about Jesus Christ? I remember the days my mom would sit with me at the kitchen table sharing the love of Jesus. Those conversations are etched in my memory. She did this with me in the same way her father (my grandfather) did it with her. The knowledge and understanding of who I am in Christ and my life’s purpose is the greatest treasure I could have. I am eternally thankful to my mother for carrying on the tradition of sharing faith.

Sadly, many people have never had these types of intimate conversations with anyone. The body of believers has the opportunity to fill this void. Cross-generational relationships in the church can help encourage evangelism and discipleship—small but important actions that are desperately needed for those who may not know the truth about Jesus.

Sending someone a note, extending a phone conversation, or taking him or her to lunch is a great way to make a Kingdom impact in that person’s life. Some might say these are basic ideas, and I agree—but the key is to follow through. “Knowing” and “doing” are two different aspects. So, seize the day! A genuine interest in another person’s life and family is an important step to sharing Jesus’ love.

Do you remember the person who introduced you to Jesus? Do you truly understand what this person did for you when he or she shared Jesus’ love with you? Make an effort to be that person for someone else today. Could you and I be an Andrew, a John, a Peter, a Phillip, or a Nathanael? It can make all the difference in the kingdom of God!

Prayer for the week:

Lord Jesus, I am thankful for the person (or persons) who told me about you. Today, I pray that you would put someone on my heart to whom I can tell about you. Guide and direct me as I intentionally invest in another person’s life, so that person would know how much Jesus loves and cares. Amen.

Bob Buck is senior pastor of Liberty Church of the Nazarene in Liberty, MO, USA.

Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today.