I recently had lunch with a pastor friend of mine named Jim. He’s been witnessing to his pediatrist – a Jewish man named Mark, who is open to spiritual things and is searching. Jim, has shared Isaiah 53 with the man in the midst of their conversations, and the Lord has used that to draw Mark closer to Himself.
Mark told Jim he also read Isaiah 53 on his own. This would have included these powerful verses:
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6)
“That really got me thinking about Jesus!” added Mark, as he shared with Jim upon his own reflection of Isaiah 53.
Jim asked me what I would suggest testimony-wise going forward. I suggested he encourage Mark to read the gospel of Matthew, the gospel originally written primarily with a Jewish audience in mind. At the same time I also suggested he encourage Mark to ask God, as he knows him, to reveal the truth about Jesus.
As I mentioned in the last submission, this is exactly how I cried out to God in September 1987, three months before I was saved. A traveling insurance salesman challenged me on an airplane to pray what I would call a ‘seekers prayer’ – “Why don’t you ask your God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, if Jesus is the Messiah?”
I prayed a prayer of faith that fateful September afternoon and three months later was born-again. Jeremiah 33:3 is a verse I attach to that wonderful season of the Lord bringing me out of darkness into His Kingdom:
‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’
The Lord desires people to know and understand Him (Jeremiah 9:23-24). In my Christian life, as I’ve witness to many people over the years, I have often challenged and encouraged people to ask God to reveal Himself to them. And I believe the Lord will answer that prayer of faith, because ‘He desires that no one perish but that all would come to repentance’ (2 Peter 3:9).
For the person who is open and searching, like Mark, I would coin that prayer a ‘seekers prayer.’
But what of the skeptic – that individual who is doubtful about the gospel message, who doesn’t believe anything without strong reasons – especially when that something hasn’t been experienced.
The skeptics prayer goes something like this: “God, if you’re real and Jesus and the gospel message are true, reveal this to me.”
The critical issue that informs our witness, both to the seeker and skeptic, is openness. Do they have the courage…and faith, to ask God, whom they don’t yet know, to reveal that which they don’t yet understand and believe!
In many witnessing encounters, I have met people who told me Jesus may be the Messiah or Christ and the gospel may be true, but they didn’t want to know! And hence, they wouldn’t pray for revelation.
However, others have taken the challenge. Once, I was witnessing to a man named Ron. He believed in God, but not Jesus. He said the stumbling block to faith was the resurrection. I encouraged him to ask God to reveal the truth of the resurrection. Eighteen months later, after asking God and searching the scriptures and other sources of evidence supporting the resurrection, Ron came to accept the veracity of the resurrection and received Jesus.
If you’re in an ongoing relationship with an unbeliever, it’s certainly appropriate to exhort them to go directly to the Source of truth – the Lord Himself – for revelation only He can provide.
Because in the mystery of God’s providence, He uses the testimony of the Church, namely you and me, to reveal Himself to the lost. For it is the Holy Spirit who convicts unbelievers of their sin, need of a savior, and ultimately accomplishes the work of regeneration – delivering people out of the kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of Light (John 1:12-13, John 16:8, Titus 3:5-6)
It’s comforting to know that as we testify and provide evidence to the veracity of the Word of God, the person of Jesus and the gospel message itself, the Holy Spirit is the the one who ultimately reveals truth – opening the eyes of the blind and unplugging the ears of the deaf.
If your audience is not willing to call out to God, continue to pray that some soon tomorrow they would. Yet, if they are, also encourage them, to read the bible as part of their search. For the bible is God’s written revelation to man!
So, we conclude our meditation as we began – with this witnessing principle in mind:
Challenge people to go to directly to the Source!
The challenge has been made, the opportunity available. And the question remains – ‘Will they you have the courage to ask? Pray that they will.
Lord Jesus, as we interact with unbelievers in our midst, please lead our witness, opening doors of opportunity to point people to You – the Source of revelation and salvation. Give us wisdom and discernment to know when and how to challenge people to call to You. May many in our midst take heed, cry out to You, and be saved! Amen.