By Katie Eubanks Ginn
In the 2006 thriller “Déjà Vu,” Denzel Washington asks: “What if you had to tell someone the most important thing in the world, but you knew they’d never believe you?”
To which the other character responds: “I’d try.”*
That “important thing” is a sci-fi scenario that happens to be true, at least in the movie. Denzel’s character knows it’s something most people would “never believe.”
In reality, sharing the gospel can feel just as freaky.
Think about it: We’re called to tell people that a rabbi who lived in Israel 2,000 years ago was actually God in the flesh; that when He was crucified by Rome at the behest of religious rivals, He was also paying for all our sins; and that He rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and will grant eternal life to all who repent and trust in Him.
Baked into that message is the fact that we need saving at all. Nobody wants to hear that sin exists, that they’re filled with it, and that God has to punish it. Also, nobody wants to hear that God offers only one way to be saved: the death of His Son, who willingly took our punishment on the cross. Jesus makes it clear in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Me.”
Sounds like a message that people would “never believe.”
But here’s the thing: When we share the gospel, the message itself is “the power of God to salvation for all who believe” (Romans 1:16). The power is not in our personality, our communication style, the evidence we present,** or the nice things we say to make up for the not-nice facts about sin and hell.
I hope that takes some pressure off, because if we’re following Jesus, we’re supposed to be talking about Him. To borrow Denzel’s phrasing, we know “the most important thing in the world.” We are beggars who’ve found bread. We are sinners who’ve been forgiven and loved beyond all reason. We would be cruel not to share that love with others.
So why do I cringe when God nudges me to ask a friend about her faith, or offer a pocket Bible to a bank teller, or maybe send a Jesus-centered text to a colleague? Well, because I’m afraid my friend will stop wanting to hang out, or that the bank teller will roll her eyes, or that my colleague will gossip about me.
Also, I’m convinced that witnessing to people in the Bible Belt is harder. Part of me would rather talk to a Muslim who vocally disagrees with me than to a churchgoer who doesn’t know Jesus but is too polite to tell me off.
Before I spin out, let’s circle back to truth: No matter how many people politely shun us, or argue with us, or (coming soon) persecute us, the Lord of hosts is on our side (Psalm 46:7). When we rest in Him, we have peace that surpasses understanding (Philippians 4:6-7); we can say, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1); and crucially, we can share the truth with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15), not condemnation or animosity.
Bottom line, sharing the gospel is the most important thing any of us will do in this life. That’s why MCL’s October cover story is about the Go Tell America crusade coming to Brandon Amphitheater on October 15-18. See page 22 to find out how you can be involved, from handing out pizza to counseling people who make decisions for Christ.
Art Jones, one of this month’s cover people interviewed about the crusade, was previously featured on the MCL cover in 2018. In fact, his was the very first MCL cover shoot I attended. As I celebrate five years with MCL, I pray we’d never deviate from our mission of pointing people to Christ. Thank you for reading, and let’s “Go Tell” some people about Jesus!
*“Déjà Vu” is not a Christian movie but contains some cool themes about God, time and space. Read the rating information before watching, especially with kids.
**Evidence can’t give someone faith in Christ — the Holy Spirit does that — but the facts can be helpful and fun. Check out Josh McDowell at Josh.org, Lee Strobel at LeeStrobel.com, or Gary Habermas at GaryHabermas.com. For more philosophical arguments, read C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” or Timothy Keller’s “The Reason for God.”