In the Jesus People Movement of the 1970ís I can remember
witnessing to people on the streets by saying to them "just try
Jesus". What did I really mean when I spoke those words? More
specifically, what did people understand those words to mean?
I believe the words, "just try Jesus" suggests that people
have tried other things in their lives, so why not give Jesus a try. If He
works for you that would be great. If He doesnít work for you, there are
other things you could try.
I am not saying that Jesus did not use those words at times, but as
I look back, those words were far too casual. The gospel has nothing to do
with simply trying Jesus out to see if He works for you.
Have you ever heard somebody say these words? "Just repeat this
prayer after me and you will be saved". A few years ago some of us
were praying for a Muslim man. As we laid hands on him in prayer, one
person asked him to repeat the sinners prayer after him. At the end of the
repeated prayer most people rejoiced that this Muslim became a Christian,
that is, most people except for me and a couple others. I didnít believe
that someone could become a true believer simply by repeating certain
words. Jesus said, "put your trust in me and you will be saved".
He didnít say, "repeat after me and you will be saved". Yes,
maybe on occasion the Lord has used such a prayer. It became evident that
these words did not get this man saved. He had no real fruit of faith in
his life. To me, a "repeat after me prayer" is once again, way
I have thought about these things lately because of my study in the
book of Luke. Many people when they first met Jesus while He was on earth
fell at His feet in fear and reverence, experiencing a tremendous sense of
humility in His presence. Meeting Jesus was far from a casual experience
for these people.
Here are some examples of what I am talking about. In Luke 5:8 Peter
falls at Jesusí feet after seeing a great catch of fish. Once at His
feet he told Jesus to "go away from me for I am a sinful man".
Peter felt a great reverence towards Jesus, while at the same time feeling
pretty insignificant about himself. Peter understood his depraved state of
being while in the presence of Jesus.
In Luke 7:36 and following we see a sinful woman weeping at the feet
of Jesus. In Luke 7:25 the disciples were full of fear after Jesus calms
the storm. In Luke 8:47 the woman who touched Jesusí cloak fell at His
feet. The list of examples goes on and on.
My conclusion is this. In many Christian circles we have "casualized"
our gospel. When one really meets Jesus it is an eye opening, reverent,
and memorable experience. The gospel we preach should reflect this.
Meeting Jesus is far from casual. It is not a "try it out
experience". The gospel message as seen in the Bible is clear, Jesus
is both Lord and Christ. We meet Him, and give our lives to Him because He
is Lord. This results in our salvation. Thereís nothing casual about