Don't give too much too quickly. Walk alongside people first

Two blokes were walking along the road chatting about all the events that happened in Jerusalem. They were confused, even disappointed. In Luke 24:14,15 it says "They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognising him."

Wow, this is quite an evangelistic strategy, don't reveal the real Jesus right away. This is a genuinely important point I am making. Jesus walked with people first and even then he didn't do a "big reveal." Most of our evangelistic methods are all about making Jesus known. How about actually doing what Jesus did in certain situations and don't tell people everything too quickly. Most of our evangelistic methods revolve around "making Christ known" and by this we mean cramming in the gospel so that people have all the facts.

However look at what Jesus did in this situation. The first thing he does is walk with people, the second thing he does is ask questions.

“What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

Most people are talking about the big stuff that's happening in life. They might not be talking about the things we want them to but the reality is, we need to listen before deciding what people need to hear.

Jesus asks "what things" are happening in your world? They are amazed he doesn't know and lets them explain to him about "Jesus of Nazareth....... a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel."

Can you imagine this. Jesus is walking with them and they are explaining to him who Jesus is.

This is important. Jesus did not feel the need to explain that he knew more than they could ever know. Jesus did not feel like he had to explain everything fully to them or demonstrate the extent of his knowledge. He kept quiet, listened and then answered without opening their eyes fully to who he was.

How often are our evangelistic efforts about making sure people know they are wrong, or ignorant? Of course that is not our intention but that is actually what we tell them. You are wrong and in the wrong and need a Saviour. How ironic that Jesus (the actual Saviour) did not do this. He did not even reveal himself to them until they took part in a familiar and intimate act, breaking bread together.

I am not suggesting this is the right method every time we talk to someone, I am simply pointing out one of the ways Jesus did it. Here are things he did do:

1. He came alongside and walked part of their journey

2. He asked questions and listened to where they were at.

3. He found out what mattered to them

4. He ate with them and broke bread (a cultural place of shared belonging)

It was not until they broke bread that their eyes were opened to who he was. Perhaps we need to take similar steps to Jesus and walk with people, listen to them, find out what matters to them and share food together, even joining in something meaningful that is a place of intimacy/transparency?

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