Jesus’ way

From today’s standpoint, Jesus had a weird way of making followers of God and future leaders.

He didn’t invite them to listen to sermons in church or attend classroom courses on the Bible, theology, or how to deal with the hot issues of the day.  He lived with them and walked with them in the marketplaces of Palestine.

Weird, yes.  But it worked.

It seems obvious to us when we think about it.

But it remains a revolutionary approach.  It is also very challenging for me.

The point I am making was made far better in The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert F. Coleman, a book written decades ago by a seminary professor.  The book has been endorsed by leading evangelists such as Billy Graham and Luis Palau.

“Having called his men (disciples), Jesus made a practice of being with them,” Coleman writes. “This was the essence of his training program – just letting his disciples follow him.”

It was in stark contrast to the normal approach by teachers in Jesus’ day.

Coleman says that teachers of the time “insisted on their disciples adhering to strict rituals and formulas of knowledge which distinguished them from others.”  But Jesus just asked them to follow him.

His disciples learned by walking with him, observing what he said and how he dealt with situations – how he lived.  Over time, they came to realize he was no ordinary teacher, but God himself.

And, of course, they were ready to lead when the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost.  They knew what being a follower of God was all about.

Recently, someone I know told me how he grew as a believer, just after he became a Christian.  He was a teenager and the youth leader took him under his wing.  He spent time at the youth leader’s home and saw that the youth leader lived what he preached – he was a godly man with his family.

I read the same testimony by Joey Bonifacio, author of The Lego Principle.  He was a young Filipino man who was attracted to an American pastor in Manila the Philippines.  The American pastor, Steve Murrell, lived the life he talked about, inviting Bonifacio to his own home where the young Filipino saw with his own eyes what Christ-like living is all about.

What this tells me is that I need to live life with those who don’t know Jesus – and with those who do.  I may learn more about what being a follower of God is all about than all the books I read.

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