Spreading the Good News
In last Sunday’s message, we heard about what Jesus means when he said “I am the resurrection and the life” right before he raises Lazarus from the dead in John 11. If you missed the message, check it out here – and be sure to read the passage as well…it’s an amazing story!
This coming Sunday, we’ll hear about what Jesus means when he says “I am the way, the truth, and the life” in John chapter 14. In-between chapters 11 and 14, we’re skipping over some important moments though, like Mary anointing Jesus, the foot-washing scene, and Jesus’ new commandment. But one little, often unnoticed, and seemingly insignificant verse sticks out to me so much. It’s John 12:19:
So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
The Pharisees, who were the preeminent religious leaders of the day, were trying to squash the Jesus movement and were getting nowhere for all of their efforts. The reason they got nowhere, was because people kept spreading the word about the new life that Jesus gave to Lazarus (12:17).
Let me say that again:
The world was flocking to find and follow Jesus because they kept on hearing about the new life that Jesus gives.
The Pharisees, along with every power the world has ever known, is powerless in the face of this message about Jesus and the new life that he actually brings. Wow. And it’s as true today as it was then.
I said this in my very first sermon here at Central, I’ll say it again now, and I’ll continue to say it until I can’t any longer: what I want more than anything else is for the whole world to go after Jesus like that again. That’s what drives me as your pastor. That’s what I believe the church is actually for (to see that come to fruition).
If that’s true, then our primary tool in evangelism (i.e., sharing the good news with others) isn’t arguing with others about God, it isn’t condemning the culture around us that we perceive as being off-track, it definitely isn’t through politics, it isn’t ever found in any version of “us vs. them”, it isn’t found in retreating from the world around us out of fear, it isn’t even though our own good morality, behavior, or works.
It’s simply spreading the word about the new life that Jesus has given you. That’s our best tool.
So it begs the question: just as Jesus gave Lazarus new life, what is the new life he has given you? A new heart? A renewed mind? A changed outlook? Forgiveness? Freedom? Security? Purpose? Refuge? Salvation? Fulfillment? Calling? A fresh start? A redeemed ending?
Whatever the new life you’ve found in Christ, share that with the world around, in whatever form is fitting: in word and in deed. As we “continue to spread the word”, maybe the whole world will start to go after him again!