Summary: Jesus respects man’s choice and believes in the sovereignty of God in changing lives.
“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”
Eagles Communications’ Vantage Point, Sep-Oct 2006 issue has a good article - “Evangelism in 21st Century Singapore” by Dr Gordon Wong. I like to share some of the thoughts from it.
Learn to share our faith, with gentleness and respect; and trust in the sovereignty of God in changing the person’s heart.
What amazes us about Jesus’ ministry is that He did not come across as One who hard sell the Gospel.
• People were free to come and free to go; to listen and believe what He says, or reject it entirely.
• Jesus did not show impatience when people reject the Gospel, nor did He coerce anyone into believing it.
• Yet we see the fruit of His labour, quite beyond our imagination - the Gospel was proclaimed and bore fruit beyond our wildest imagination.
• Jesus says, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." (v.27)
Jesus respects man’s choice and believes in the sovereignty of God in changing lives.
Look at the way Jesus deals with this keen seeker.
• If we were out to sell the Gospel, we would have grabbed him.
• Jesus, knowing what is best for this young man, allowed him to walk away.
• This was not because Jesus did not care for him.
• The Bible says Jesus looked at this young man and loved him (10:21).
He loved him (verse 21), and respected his decision to walk away.
• Some things cannot be forced through.
• Jesus’ call to “Come, follow me” in verse 21 is always, and will always be an invitation.
• God loves you today, but He will leave it to you to make the choice.
It’s amazing to see how Jesus can let this man off, when he’s so close and so good in many respects.
• He had kept the commandments from childhood. He has been to church since young.
• Unlike the Pharisees who simply came to test Jesus, to undermine him, this man comes with the desire to ask a sincere question.
• He was a seeker of God, wanting to know the truth.
• He has great respect for Jesus - falling on his knees before Him and calling Him ‘Teacher’.
Actually, from man’s point of view, he really ‘qualifies’ to be accepted by God.
• Have we been as devout as him, keeping the commands since his childhood?
• Can we be entrusted to take up a religious position like him, running the synagogue as ruler?
• Are we so eager and humble to know the truth?
• Do we honour Jesus as our Teacher and seek Him for help?
All these things seem to make him a prime candidate for eternal life, don’t you think?
• It would be nice to have such a person in the church – he’s rich, religious, and reliable.
• But sadly, he was not prepared to put his trust in Jesus.
• He has another god – wealth. And he wants to be righteous by his own efforts.
• Jesus says we cannot serve God and money. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. It’s either one or the other.