Engaged Like Jesus
Yes, Jesus. You remember him, right? The one who told us that God loved the world so much he sent his one and only Son to die on the cross for our sins? The one who showed that he would rather die than live without us. The one who came to actively seek and save the lost and then called us to follow him, to do what he did. He left an environment so perfect we can only imagine it through pictures and analogies. And he left it in order to enter a less-than-perfect world. He could have chosen withdrawal, but he didn’t. He engaged with people. He fed hungry people. He touched and healed sick people. He chose to live among us, even though he didn’t have to. He engaged with people who were of lower status, and, in doing so, he elevated them. He left the world a much brighter place than he found it, because he chose to interact with the people in it. And he calls us to do the same.
But in asking how we should imitate Jesus in his approach to those outside of our faith, we are really asking how Jesus would approach them. Trying to tell people about Jesus in a way that completely contradicts his character and nature would be self-defeating and counterproductive.
Jesus did two really important things: (1) he turned on a light and (2) he built a bridge. There’s good reason to think that perhaps these are two of the most important things Jesus calls his followers to do today.
Now, think about this: If Jesus was willing to go to such ridiculous lengths in order to identify with us and build a bridge of relationship with people who were estranged from him, can’t we all just try a little harder to get along with others – even those with whom we disagree?
Perhaps, before you answer that question, you might want to read what the apostle Paul had to say in Romans 5:6-8, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
He came to earth to engage with people, people he loved so much that he would die to save them.