I think it is natural with us humans. When we encounter a good fortune; we love to share, talk about it and if it is something others can also experience, we recommend it to them. We see this phenomenon happening in our opening text. Jesus was in a conversation with the Samaritan woman ( who we saw in our previous post). When Jesus revealed Himself to her, her response was that of sharing with others her good news: “So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” (John 4:28-29).
Our lesson today will explore one of the recurring themes in the text: ‘Witnessing’ or sharing Christ.
Firstly, Who Is A Witness?
There are quiet a number of definition for who a witness is. But for the purpose of this article, we will focus on one. A witness is a person who sees or otherwise has personal knowledge of something [and is able to testify about it]. Now, everyone who identifies as a Christian is to be a witness of, or testify about Christ, his death and resurrection which is the gospel. Christians are witnesses of Christ (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19-20). The biblical records of Christ’s life are based on eye witnesses report(1Corinthians 15:3-8) and I believe this is every believers mandate. When people encounter Christ, they tell others about Him.
John the Baptist did: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). When Andrew found Jesus, he told Simon Peter; “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).(John 1:45). Philip also told Nathaniel about Christ: “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (John 1:45). When the Samaritan woman encountered Christ, she rushed back to the village and said: “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” (John 4:29). When Saul (Paul) encountered Christ, Scripture testifies that “… immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” (Acts 9:20).
But you may say I am not bold or eloquent. Well, if you are a Christian, you are a witness of Christ and that charge must be taken seriously. We can take a cue from Nicodemus. After John 3, we heard of him taking a stand for Jesus. He probably had not overcome the fear of people which brought him to Jesus by night instead of in the day light (John 3:2).Yet, we see Nicodemus taking a stand for Christ. When the authorities were seeking to arrest Jesus, Nicodemus asked them; “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does ?” (John 7:51).
If we look at our opening text, there are two clear examples of witnessing:
Jesus Revealed Himself To The Woman
We see clearly in the text that, all Jesus has been doing was to reveal Himself as the Saviour to this Samaritan woman who was a sinner and needed Jesus. Christ is our perfect example. He was an evangelist who spoke to people about Himself and faith in Him for the forgiveness of sin.
The Samaritan Woman Speaks About Christ.
At the very moment her heart was opened to know Christ, she went into the village to speak to people about Christ. She moved a whole town to come to Christ: “They went out of the town and were coming to him” (v.30). They didn’t only come to Christ. They believed in Him: “Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” (v.39)
Secondly, Why Must We Witness?
In the narrative, Jesus tells the disciples something worth our attention:“My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (v.34). This tells us that one of the reasons we must witness is because it is God’s will. It is what God sent Jesus to do–bring sinners to salvation. This takes us to our next reason for witnessing: Sinners must hear the gospel to be saved. The only way people will come to the faith is through the preaching of the gospel.
Paul asks “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? (Romans 10:14-15). Look at the chain. The way for sinners to come to faith in Christ is to hear the gospel: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ”.(Romans 10:17). The means by which they hear the gospel is through preaching. And those who preach are those who have been sent. And every Christian, in a certain sense is a preacher sent out to proclaim the good news that “…God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
Finally, How Must We Witness?
I have only one answer: with urgency. Why? hear Jesus: “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look , I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest” (John 4:35). “Look…lift up your eyes”. Your eyes may be buried in insignificant things which has blinded you to the urgency of gospel proclamation as a follower of Christ. “See…the fields are white for harvest” Do you see the urgency for gospel proclamation in those words? All around us there are people who don’t know Christ. See the action of the Samaritan woman. She left her water jar. That speaks of the urgency she attached to telling others about Christ.
I will suggest three ways to cultivate urgency about gospel preaching:
Pray to see and seize opportunities for witnessing.
Often we go about our day without the slightest thought that we are Christians. We can engage in every conversation from football to politics but not our fwith. Are we ever conscious we are Christians who have to speak with others about Christ? Let’s pray to see opportunities and use them to proclaim the gospel
Go out of your comfort zone to create opportunities to proclaim the gospel
The great commission says “Go”. Every believer must be intentional about witnessing—telling others about Christ. For many of us, this doesn’t come naturally to us. We can start a conversation about just any topic under the sun. But to speak of Christ, we begin to have butterflies in our stomach. The reason could be that, either we are shy, not bold or ill-equipped to speak about our faith. Churches must make that conscious effort to disciple people in sharing their faith.
Pray For The Burden For Souls
Some people just don’t care about these things–the salvation of sinners. They think it is the responsibility of pastors only to preach the gospel. Do a self-assessment of yourself. Do you care about friends, family and neighbours who don’t have a relationship with Christ? You must care. If you don’t, start praying about it. There is something wrong with you.