Why is it that we are rarely let in on the conversation between Jesus and those that actually get converted? For example in the case of the rich young ruler we get a full Hansard – what he said, then what Jesus said, and then what the disciples said and finally after he walks off, Jesus gives a commentary on the meaning of the things that had just been said. True we have the conversation with Nicodemus and the woman at the well but by and large the greatest details are for situations where Jesus was rejected.
Take our friend Zacchaeus for instance. Jesus has lunch with him and next minute the little guy is jumping up and down – giving away his money and making all kinds of promises regarding the people he has been dudding over the years. What did Jesus say to him? Did he use Two Ways to Life or Steps to Peace with God? What was his overall approach was it apologetic or simply evangelistic?
Well we will never know and it really doesn’t matter because ultimately Jesus is not only the person about whom the Gospel is written, he is The Gospel. The ultimate purpose of the Gospel is that one comes to know Jesus personally.
This is exactly what was promised by Jeremiah: (31:34) “…….no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD.
The problem is that sometimes we spend a great amount of time arguing the case for the things we believe without ever encouraging people to begin to communicate with God.
Now don’t get me wrong, it is very important to give people a good reason to believe. I believe very much in apologetics but ultimately the best reason a person can have for believing is to have a supernatural encounter with the living God for themselves. God is not just a collections of ideas, he is a real living person who desires to be on loving terms with his people.
Ultimately the thing that stands between a man and God is not knowledge, but pride and that cannot be truly dealt with until he is prepared to humble himself enough to get honest in conversation with God. Apologetics might show people the door that Jesus is knocking on, but we also need to encourage them to open the door they can only do that by praying.
Remember the most sobering warning he gave us was “Depart from me you evildoers, I never knew you”. No one can know him without being willing to talk to him.
Its’ important that we tell people that.
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