In some studies, fear is the #1 reason Christians give for not sharing their faith. I think there’s another reason, though, we cannot ignore. The Gospel of Mark has helped me to see this problem, and I invite you to review the Word as you read this post.
In several stories in the first half of the Gospel, the text tells us that crowds were filled with wonder at Jesus. It didn’t always happen that way—some of the religious leaders, in particular, turned against Jesus quickly—but it did happen often. For example, the people were astonished at His teaching because He taught differently than the scribes did (Mark 1:22). They were also amazed when He demonstrated His power to cast out demons (Mark 1:27).
Those who saw Jesus heal and save a paralytic were also amazed at Him (Mark 2:12). The people who learned Legion’s story of freedom from demonic bondage marveled at what Jesus had done (Mark 5:20). The family of the daughter of Jairus were “overcome with amazement” when Jesus raised her from the dead (Mark 5:42). Those who saw Jesus heal a deaf man with a speech impediment were “astonished beyond measure” (Mark 7:37).
And, here’s what most grabs my attention: when the people were filled with astonishment, they most often immediately began talking about Jesus (Mark 1:28, 2:12, 5:20, 7:37). Even in those cases where Jesus told people not to go tell, they often did anyway (Mark 1:45, 5:43 [cf. Matt 9:26). After all, how could you not tell others when Jesus healed you or raised a loved one from the dead?
But, then there’s the story of the people in Jesus’ hometown. When they heard Him teach and learned of His miracles, they were initially astonished themselves (Mark 6:2). That wonder, though, quickly gave way to skepticism and disbelief (Mark 6:3); in their minds, they reduced Jesus to just one of them. He was just the “routine” carpenter whose family they knew.
This time, then, it was not the crowds filled with wonder over Jesus; it was Jesus amazed by their unbelief (Mark 6:6). He was amazed that they were no longer amazed.
And, I can’t help but wonder if He isn’t sometimes amazed by our lack of amazement, too. What was once astonishment in our early Christian walk has too often now become the routine – and it’s no wonder we don’t evangelize like we should.
What are your thoughts?
Posted on November 9, 2021
Dr. Chuck Lawless is a leading expert in spiritual consultation, discipleship and mentoring. As a former pastor, he understands the challenges ministry presents and works with Church Answers to provide advice and counsel for church leaders.
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Maybe it’s because the words “awesome, amazing” are now even being used to describe shoes made of inferior materials. Everything nowadays is called awesome. The awesomeness once reserved for the power of God and the power of the cross is ascribed to everything, including a bad tasting hamburger. If no one is amazed anymore, they see no reason to invite others to come and share their unamazing life. Or, maybe the reading of the gospel in church or at home at been so reduced that it appears to be void of the need to run and tell. Or, maybe it’s because Jesus has been reduced to a pronoun, and the name of Jesus is spoken less. Or maybe, because God is not using those who won’t run and tell. Maybe God is using those who are running and telling, and it just seems like no one is running and telling because the people who are running and telling are winning people to the kingdom of God, but not particulary to a specific congregation.
It’s a two pronged problem, as I see it. A lack of awe and amazement in the Church. A lack of commitment.
And that’s among actual Bible teaching, Jesus believing Churches.
Pastor’s and deacons really need to focus -must raise the bar to the next height.
If you’re a Christian, you’re a disciple. If you’re a disciple your commitment is to make disciples. I did an interim situation for a time recently, no one taught them how to share their faith. In another Church now, and, all the old disciplers have gone, by death or departure. The elders/ leadership(not me) has raised the bar. Training is happening, excited disciples are readying for their next opportunity to tell someone else about Jesus.
Prior to the gospel training class the Pastor was leading a small group in sharing Jesus at the local laundromat, paying for wash or dry or both. Listening and answering why this happening. Amazing commitment.
A lot of Christians are unhappy. There are so many rules, too many fights, too much politics, and cliques. Why would I go evangelise when I am not even happy?
Mark, I get you. I was serving in various capacities in a Church. That facility mirrored the decay of the leadership. I felt like it was a fruitless waste of time sharing my faith, there really was nothing to bring them to. My error was to stop and be like”the’ rest of them. The commission doesn’t say if we have everyone else’s approval. Jesus says go,make disciples, baptize them, teach them/train them to do as you did, per Jesus.
An evangelist will go anywhere to tell. The rest of us can share as we go. One here, one there as the Holy Spirit makes it happen. Rules? Do you know you’re testimony of how Jesus saved you? You could do that, or a tool like 4 spiritual laws, or The Roman’s road or an Evange-cube. Not all will be saved or listen… that’s not your responsibility it’s the Holy Spirits job to convict and convince them. Our job is to tell Jesus to the lost.
I hope this long response is helpful.
This is a hard saying; who can hear it? (Sorry, but I couldn’t resist!) In all seriousness, I think you’re on target. Jesus rebuked the church at Ephesus for “losing their first love”. Scholars debate what He meant, but I think He was talking about their love for Him. When we allow our love for Jesus to grow cold, everything else grows cold, too.
Indeed! Your observation should prompt a few questions worth considering. I’d add that much of the Acts story (such as…they went from house to house) was a continuation of that amazement and excitement. No one wanted to miss out on what was happening.
Today? Mebbe there’s not much ‘amazement’ to be found… and perhaps the question is less about evangelism than about this lack of life change and transformation that is so remarkable that folks would be amazed. Might be time to be asking ourselves what the problem could ever be? (Hint: It isn’t that folks aren’t doing evangelization, tho most aren’t ) Also, the Master hasn’t changed…