Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lent: Philip

John 1:43-46
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"Come and see." Like the Samaritan woman, Philip's approach to evangelism is to bring people to Jesus and let them be converted by a personal encounter with the Lord. It reflects his own approach to life: when Jesus mentions the Father, Philip asks Him to take the apostles to see the Father (Jn 14:8). It's an approach that only works when the person being seen is authentic and convincing, without any interpretation or explanation needed before the encounter. It's an approach, therefore, that works particularly well in bringing individuals to Christ. We can prepare people for the encounter with our own attitudes and behavior; we can explain what it might be like by our own testimony, our own experience with Him; but the only thing that will fully convert them is a personal encounter.
Why are we so often afraid to let people have that personal encounter? Instead of bringing them to our churches, our Bible studies, our retreats, our homes for dinner, we make excuses for why we think they're not ready yet. We forget how thoroughly and easily the Lord convinces doubters, including Nathanael and including ourselves. Without changing our behavior or avoiding opportunities to give our testimonies, let's try Philip's approach and invite people to "come and see". Bring our friends, neighbors, family members, acquaintances to places where they might have the opportunity to encounter the Lord personally, and let Him do the majority of the conversion. His Word and Presence are very convincing; our job is to bring others to see Him, not to convince them ourselves of His reality and His love for them.

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