What sort of person do you think you would need to start a worldwide movement? No doubt someone famous. It wouldn’t hurt if they were funny or talented. Perhaps someone smart or influential. Advertisers know that if they want to go viral with their message then using the right celebrity is essential. The advertisers at the February Super Bowl in America have lined up some amazing talent for this year’s hotly anticipated commercial breaks. Gal Gadot, Justin Timberlake, Minnie Driver, Lil Buck and Melissa McCarthy will all be representing a global brand.
But do you know who Jesus chose to start a worldwide movement? You and me. Jesus doesn’t need rock stars. Jesus has all authority over heaven and earth. He has the power to call and change people. Jesus doesn’t need us to be famous or funny to spread his gospel. He just wants us to be faithful to him and to reflect to the world what kind of king Jesus is.
When Jesus took his disciples up a mountain to teach them what would be required to continue to spread the Kingdom of God it’s staggering to look at the first thing he taught them. We read these very famous words in Matthew 5:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus is teaching his disicples that their character and dependency on God is the way forward. They are to be poor in spirit, merciful, meek, peacemakers and…even persecuted. Jesus wants the people who bear his name to show the world who he is.
After all, as Jesus hung on the cross, was there anyone else in the whole world who was poorer in Spirit, anyone who mourned more, anyone more meek, anyone hungrier and thirstier for righteousness, anyone more pure in heart, anyone more committed to peacemaking or anyone more persecuted?
Yet don’t we also know the victory of the cross? Don’t we know that it is the cross that brings blessing and the kingdom of Heaven. The way for us to share the kingdom with others is by picking up our cross and following Jesus. This is something that we all can do – and are all called to do.
Not many of us will be miracle workers, or evangelists or famous preachers. But all of us have the same Spirit that Jesus had. All of us can have the same character that Jesus had. All of us can spread the kingdom by being like Jesus.
One of the reasons I find this so encouraging is because I often think about all the things I’m not. I’m not famous or influential and I’m certainly not as talented/ wonderful/ good looking/ articulate as that other person over there. What difference could I make? Should I even bother trying to tell others about Jesus? Do you ever feel plagued by the same sense of inadequacy? Do you ever feel like you just aren’t good enough or you don’t have the right gifts to tell others about Jesus? If only Jesus would send someone else to your neighbourhood or workplace. But to think like that is to ignore the fact that Jesus has already chosen us to represent him. We should be asking, does my life show that Jesus is my King? Do I have his character?
You can learn gospel outlines. You can learn clever answers to questions, you can learn to start up a conversation with someone on the train. But your character is central to any witness you would like to have. This point was not lost on the apostles Peter and Paul who both urged in their letters that Christians be gentle and respectful when we give and answer for our faith. Before you work on any other evangelism technique – work on your character. Ask God to help you to grow more and more like Jesus.
The other side of the coin here, is we know how much hypocrisy hurts our message. One of the greatest objections people have to the gospel is that the people who bring it are hypocrites. I’ve met this objection as I’ve tried to witness to people and sadly all I can do is agree and apologise. Nobody is willing to hear about the Prince of Peace from someone who is argumentative and arrogant.
As we get back into our daily routines after the summer holidays, it’s worth sitting down and reflecting on the Beatitudes. Take one at a time and ask yourself “How could this be demonstrated where I work/ play”. As you intentionally practice living out the beatitudes you will find the blessings associated with them will not only transform your relationship with Jesus, but also your witness about him.