Thursday, 3 November 2011

Telling people about Jesus

"Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ." 

At a gathering of ordinands from various colleges, I remember one enthusiastic young thing piping up that what he most looked forward to about being ordained was 'telling people about Jesus.'  I'll leave it to you to guess which theological college he came from (and no, it's not in Cambridge).

Back in my atheist days, the last thing I wanted was for someone to come up and 'tell me about Jesus.' Nothing could put me off Christianity more. In fact, I still get pretty miffed when people try it on with me even now. Who do they think they are?

For me, the appeal of being ordained is doing the Lord's work, rather than 'telling' people anything.  After all, our Lord Himself did not go around 'telling people about Jesus,' and in fact, He often instructed His disciples to do just the opposite. Even after the Resurrection, He made Himself known not through words, but through the breaking of the bread. The depths of that sacrament teach far more about God than any of our pious prattle can manage.

Perhaps if we Christians could stop trying to tell people so much about Jesus and started trying to be more like Him, they would be more inclined to learn about Him. Show the Way, and people will follow.

Or, to paraphrase St Francis: preach the Gospel.  Use words if you have to.

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