In Any-3: Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime, Mike Shipman shares five insights into the character of Jesus’ evangelistic ministry. These insights, drawn from Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:7-38), will serve us well as we seek to obey the Great Commission to share the Gospel and make disciples of all the “nations”, beginning in our Jerusalems.
The first characteristic of Jesus’ evangelistic ministry that Shipman points out is intentionality. Jesus was Intentional about everything that He did during the course of His life and ministry, including His evangelism. Mike writes that …
“The witness who understands the gospel and is willing and prepared to share it will have opportunities to do so. God will connect such a witness with people who need to hear the gospel, many of whom He has already prepared to receive it.”
“Christians who plan to share the gospel do so much more often than those who passively ‘wait for the Spirit to lead them.'”
“Prepare to share the gospel. And then make a plan to spend time where lost people are with the intention of sharing the gospel with them.”
Jesus was very Informal when engaging people evangelistically.
“Most of Jesus’ witnessing experiences occurred in the course of everyday life. Rather than waiting for a formal religious setting, Jesus witnessed informally.”
“The best place to witness is wherever you meet people.”
” … if anyone, anywhere in the world invites you to sit down and talk, what they are usually saying is, ‘Share the gospel with me.'”
Mike writes that “Jesus never acted condescending or condemning” when ministering evangelistically. “Instead, he was Interactive and engaging.”
Discussing this third characteristic of Jesus’ evangelistic approach to ministry, Shipman notes that Jesus spoke seven times and the woman spoke six times during their conversation at the well. He did not dominate the conversation; His style was interactive. It is also noted that the early tone of Jesus was gentle and relaxed when He began His conversation with the woman, but the tone of the conversation did became tense when the woman came under conviction because of her sin. When tension does enter the evangelistic exchange,
“Let the Holy Spirit do the work of conviction, while the witness helps to guide the person to the truth.”
“People are rarely won to Christ through arguments no matter how persuasive they may be. Instead, focus of giving a simple, loving presentation of the gospel.”
Initiative characterized Jesus’ approach to evangelism. Mike shows us that Jesus not only initiated the conversation with the Samaritan woman, He guided the conversation to its intended goal. That goal was her decision to receive Christ as her Savior and transformer of her life.
The fifth and final characteristic of Jesus’ evangelism method that Mike Shipman observes in Any-3 Jesus’ encounter with the Woman at the Well is that Jesus Introduces people to the Messiah.
“Sharing biblical truths is good, but if we fail to introduce the Messiah, we have missed the heart of the gospel.”
” … the gospel has the power to save. For this reason, the gospel should be the primary message the witness shares.”
If the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ truly is good news, those of us who are believers in Him should be eager to share the message of God’s love and forgiveness in our Savior with those who need to know Him personally. While many studies, programs, and courses have been written and designed to train and equip us for evangelism, there is no better preparation and equipping for the work than to study and follow the life, example, and teaching of Jesus Christ.
He was Intentional about the sharing of the Gospel. He was Informal, or relational. He Interacted and had exchanges with people. He took the Initiative in connecting with people and sharing the Good News. And, He Introduced people to the Messiah and called them to make a personal decision to accept His as their Savior.
May we live an evangelistic life-style and may it be characterized by the evangelistic traits of Jesus.
The painting above: Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well by Henryk Sieiradzki, 1886.