Pondering John 5:16-47
You can click HERE to read the passage.
In chapter 3 (Nicodemus) and in chapter 4 (the Samaritan woman) Jesus had conversations with people who were eager to listen to what He had to say. In this passage in chapter 5, Jesus is talking to people who really aren’t interested in anything that He has to say. They have already made their minds up about Him. They don’t want to be confused with the facts – even if the facts are supported by one of their heroes (Moses). So how do you have a gospel conversation with someone like this. Here are a few thoughts gleamed from this passage…
Don’t get long winded – Be brief in what you say. Everything that Jesus said here took less than 4 minutes to say (yes, I timed it). You can’t argue anyone into the kingdom of God by talking at length. Let your words be few.
Try to share the gospel succinctly – You don’t have to preach for 30 minutes to share the gospel. You don’t have to go through the 4 steps of salvation to share the gospel. You don’t have to walk people down the Romans Road to share the gospel. Jesus shared what it takes to be saved in one sentence. Notice verse 24 – “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” He gave them that gospel nugget to chew on and did not feel compelled to add 3 alliterated points, a poem, and a story to get make it clear.
Challenge their mind especially when their hearts are far from God – Jesus said some things in the few minutes that He had their attention that I have no doubt made them think. His comment about the Son of Man in verse 27 and and his comment about their study of the Scriptures in verse 39 are two examples.
Appeal to people that have credibility in their eyes – In verse 45, Jesus appeals to Moses, whom the Pharisees think hung the moon. They live and breathe on his every word. They study his works, memorize his words, and seek to live by what he says. We have people like that in our day who unbelievers put great stock in. Use the words of these very people to help get your viewpoint across. Of course this means that you will have to do a little homework to find out how they can be used to give credibility to your message. But even unbelievers, atheists, and heretics can often help to make your point.
Understand that you can’t save anybody – It is not your job to save people. That is God’s job. Your commission is to share the good news with boldness, humility, patience, and wisdom and leave the results up to God. Note verse 21.
“Father, would You use me to plant seeds of the gospel in the lives of people who are far away from You, knowing that You are the One who has to make the seeds grow into faith that give people LIFE.”
Next Week’s Passage – John 6:1-15