The readings today seem to be about evangelism. In Acts, Paul speaks to the Jews and others who are God-fearing about John the Baptist and his heralding of the coming of Jesus. The psalmist proclaims, “For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.” And in John, Jesus, after washing the disciples’ feet, tells them that “whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.”
Well, we’re four weeks out from Easter. The intensity of the risen Christ is fading some. The desire to spread the Good News may not be quite as strong. I have to confess, I am not very good at evangelism. I fear rejection. And I fear being ridiculed for my beliefs. It would be so nice if there were some rules or instructions where all you had to do was say A and the person receiving the message would immediately recognize who Jesus is. You would say B and the person would recognize the gift and value of a relationship with Christ. You would say C and that relationship would be solid as a rock. Ah, if only, if only. Instead Jesus says, “go and spread the Good News.” No script. No A, B, C.
I belong to a group where the majority of the group is atheist. Some are believers who have fallen away and some simply see belief as nonsense. I’m open about my faith and they are fairly accepting of that. A month or so ago a young man in the group sent a note to the group stating that he had found Christ. I was honestly excited and couldn’t wait to encourage him.. It turned out to be an April fool’s joke. I’m sure the young man had no idea how sad this made me.
This incident made me ask myself, “why is this important to me?” If I have a good relationship with Christ, why should I care whether someone else knows who Jesus is or not? Well, to start with I am a follower of Christ and Christ commands us to share the Good News. Secondly, it’s our nature to want to share good things that we have discovered. Have you ever read a book, heard a song, seen a movie or eaten at a restaurant where it was just so good that you could hardly wait to tell a friend about it? Lastly, God’s love is a gift to be shared, not hoarded. We want God’s love to shine in us, in those around us and in those who will follow after us.
Jesus said he came so we could have life and have it to the fullest. I honestly do not understand how that is, but I know it is true. Christ brings a joy to life. A joy that we want to share. And when we share that joy, it doesn’t diminish our joy, it expands it. I guess that’s how the Good News works.
My prayer today is in thanks for those who were bold enough to share the Good News with me and for those of us who need courage to spread the Good News.
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