“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
Jesus followers are called to introduce Him to others.
Witnessing in one sense may simply be defined as introducing people to Jesus. As we think of our personal witness, we’ll generally have the greatest impact potential in the context of personal relationships. Why? Because in our personal relationships we have the time, margins, and opportunity to build rapport and trust – thus creating a platform to powerfully speak into someone’s life. In short, within our sphere of influence we have tremendous impact potential for the Kingdom!
Our personal spheres of influence are those personal connections that are already part of our life – relationships with people at school, work, organizations & clubs, and businesses you may patronize. If you get creative and think through your normal course of activities, you may be surprised how many people with whom you have regular touch points. Of course your sphere of influence also includes family and friends.
I would regularly cross paths at a local café with a fellow coach who’d attended the same university for graduate school. Mark has been a strength and conditioning coach for a couple of college football teams. I’d been a professional tennis coach for 14 years. Whenever I saw Mark we’d chat for a few minutes, usually talking shop – coaching to be specific. After a number of occasions I was compelled to take the initiative and get together with Mark to watch football. I didn’t know where he was spiritually-speaking. This provided an opportunity to develop a friendship and a platform for conversations about faith and Jesus. It turns out he’s not a believer and very much struggling with faith. We continue to hang out and have conversations about faith as I seek to introduce him to Jesus.
The incredible opportunity the Lord provides within our sphere of influence is the opportunity to introduce people to Jesus.
In John 1 we see a pattern for introducing Jesus to others – it comes through personal relationships. Contextually, John 1 is the introduction of Jesus as the Word, the Light, and the Lamb. The chapter moves in one sense from theology to biology, as a theological introduction of Messiah in verses 1-17 and moves into a personal introduction to Messiah in the remainder of the chapter.
Our focus is in John 1:35-51, for it’s here we see Jesus introduced to others through personal relationships.
John the Baptist, as he sees the Lord, introduces his disciples to Jesus, stating: “Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:35). As John declares the truth, his disciples are curious and go interact with Jesus. As we read the narrative they are interested in finding out more about who Jesus is (John 1:36-39).
Andrew, one of John’s disciples, begins following Jesus (John 1:40). Interestingly, verse 41 states that he (Andrew) ‘first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus” (v.42). One’s sphere of influence starts with family.
In verse 43 Jesus gives Simon a new name, Cephas, or Peter, indicating a new identity and a new purpose. Peter would now be a fisher of men.
In John 1:43-51 the narrative describes Jesus’ interaction with Nathaniel the next day. Nathaniel’s friend, Philip, introduces Nathaniel to Jesus in verses 45-46: “Philip found Nathaniel and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’”
After Jesus reveals Himself in verses 47-48, Nathaniel exclaims, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
In these two interactions we see the introduction of Jesus to seekers and to a scoffer. In our lives, we don’t know how people will respond when we introduce them to Jesus. Yet the Lord commands us to be witnesses for Him and our witness involves simply introducing Jesus to those who don’t yet know Him as Lord and Savior.
The way we will introduce Jesus to those in our sphere of influence is through our words and deeds – proclaiming His truth, the gospel, and demonstrating His love.
Introducing Jesus to others means:
– Starting with those in our sphere of influence.
– Respecting the process > giving people space and time to find out the truth about Jesus for themselves.
– Having confidence that the Lord can and does convince people of His identity. That’s not our job, it’s the work of the Spirit. When it happens, God makes it happen. The Lord reveals and authenticates His true identity.
Like Esther, you and I are strategically placed by God to be a witness in our individual spheres of influence…for such a time as this. For you have access to a unique group of people I may never meet and visa versa!
A few questions to ponder as we seek to introduce others to Jesus:
– If you don’t know someone who needs Christ, would you pray God would bring someone in your life for the purpose of being a witness – for the purpose of introducing them to Jesus?
– Are you praying regularly for the salvation of at least one person in your sphere of influence?
– Are you praying for guidance and wisdom regarding your witness to those in your sphere of influence who need Jesus?
– Are you asking the Lord to show you what it looks like to introduce someone in your life to Jesus?
– May we seek the Lord in this area of our witness, that we might be more effective in introducing others to Jesus.
Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.