Summary: Most of us do not witness because we are afraid of being hurt by skeptical people. Jesus gives us a great example of a blind man who overcame his fears and shared the truth of Christ’s love with the power of his personal testimony.
How to Witness to Skeptics (John 9:1-41)
Most of us do not witness because we are afraid of being hurt by skeptical people. Jesus gives us a great example of a blind man who overcame his fears and shared the truth of Christ’s love with the power of his personal testimony.
Illustration:I was speaking at an open-air crusade in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Billy Graham was to speak the next night and had arrived a day early. He came incognito and sat on the grass at the rear of the crowd. Because he was wearing a hat and dark glasses, no one recognized him.
Directly in front of him sat an elderly gentleman who seemed to be listening intently to my presentation. When I invited people to come forward as an open sign of commitment, Billy decided to do a little personal evangelism. He tapped the man on the shoulder and asked, "Would you like to accept Christ? I’ll be glad to walk down with you if you want to." The old man looked him up and down, thought it over for a moment, and then said, "Naw, I think I’ll just wait till the big gun comes tomorrow night." Billy and I have had several good chuckles over that incident. Unfortunately, it underlines how, in the minds of many people, evangelism is the task of the "Big Guns," not the "little shots."
Lieghton Ford, Good News is for Sharing, 1977, David C. Cook Publishing Co., p. 67.
In John chapter nine there are four responses to Jesus. Only one provides us with a guideline for overcoming skepticism. Let us trust the Lord to help open our emotional, spiritual and mental eyes to see what the Lord has to teach us in this passage today. (Pray)
1. Jesus taught that God had allowed the man to be born blind so that the works of God could be displayed in him. Too many times people falsely believe that they are suffering because of some sin in their life. The Lord Jesus said, "It was neither that this man sinned nor his parents, but he was born blind so that the power of God could be seen in him. All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned to us by the one who sent us because there is little time left." (John 9:3,4)
Application: Let us realize that the Lord allows hardship, handicaps or setbacks to come in to our lives so He can demonstrate His greater will through us. Do not resent what the Lord is doing in and through you. Rejoice that He has allowed you to experience this difficulty as He is still on the throne ruling all things well. It should then be well with our soul.
2. Jesus exposed the religious leaders for the skeptics they were through this encounter. The Pharisees immediately doubted and questioned the man saysing, "This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath. Others said, "But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs? So there was a deep division of opinion among them. They were skeptical of one another. This describes the way most Americans treat any news today. Jesus says to us in our doubtful moods, "Be it done to you according to your faith." "Faith is the victory that overcomes the world." When we tend to doubt God’s mighty power, grace and love then we can expect to miss God’s blessings. Allow the Lord to do whatever He wants in order to work His greater works through regardless of what other critics, doubters or immature Christians might have to say about your situation.
3. Jesus showed us that even the blind man’s parents showed feared of being excommunicated so they deferred to their son. When we have an opportunity to speak up for the gospel and we fail to do so, we are living by fear rather than faith. Paul wrote, "We walk by faith not by sight... I care very little what others say about me, for judgment is from the Lord." Develop a thick enough skin so you are not apt to shy away from doing what God wants you to do for fear of misunderstanding, rejection or scorning.
4. Jesus showed how one man’s suffering provided a felt need that led to an open door for the gospel. Many Christians need to look for the felt needs of people in order to maximizie the effective of our communication. Most people have mental filters that block messages from penetrating to their heart felt allegiances. The Lord wants us to speak to the felt needs of people so that they will begin to open the door of their values, beliefs, and perceptions of what is truly worth relying on. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom, sensitivity and insight into the felt needs of the people you come in contact with.