“And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” Mark 8:29
“Who died on the cross?” questioned my daughter to the nine first graders sitting in a circle listening to her read an Easter story book. “Jesus!” they shouted back in unison. Jesus. “There’s just something about that name.” were lyrics from a Gaither song a soloist used to sing in my home church in Tyler, Texas. “Master, Savior, Jesus. Like the fragrance after the rain…”
Jesus. The one I go to church to learn about and feel freely to talk about within church walls. Easter comes. Easter goes each year. Yet Easter remains only a season when I don’t share Jesus with others. “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Let all heaven and earth proclaim. Kings and Kingdoms shall all pass away. But there is something about that name.” The song continues to play in my head.
Christ asked Peter, “’But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Christ.’” (Mark 8:29)
Who do I say Jesus is?
It’s a really tough question because it is so easy to spout off the Sunday school answers like: Son of God, Light of the World, Messiah… the list goes on. All the names I’ve heard and learned in church that are church friendly. My fellow Sunday school classmates and Bible study friends can all sit around and talk about these names with ease and comfort, because, hey, we believe the same thing, right? But if a complete stranger asked me what I believed and I said I believed Jesus was the Son of God and they returned with “Why do you follow Jesus?” Or “Why do you believe in him?” The answers get a little more personal.
Last spring while walking the dog around our half mile block, I was listening to Christian author Jennie Allen on Audible talk about sharing Christ. She brought up the idea that if we enjoy a favorite ice cream we wouldn’t hesitate to share it with someone, but yet we hesitate when it comes to sharing Jesus, the giver of life and salvation of the world. I remember pondering this thought on my walk, as Sherlock- my family’s mischievous beagle stopped in the middle of the walk to scratch his droopy ears. Reaching down to help him out with an ear rub, I thought about how many times Jesus has helped me out. Yet I fail to share Him eagerly with others, like I would my favorite snow cone place or flavor of ice cream. Why don’t I recommend Christ more often as my savior like I would when suggesting a good plumber to a friend in need?
Is sharing Jesus really that difficult? I asked my women’s Bible study group that question this last autumn. “Yes,” one of my classmates replied. “I worry about what someone would say.” Another mentioned, “I’m imposing my belief system on someone else.” Still another asked, “If I share Christ with them and invite them to church, will I be responsible for them?”
After listening to the hesitations I realized, I too have had similar fears. Fear.
[Now before I continue with my thoughts, I ask you not to judge me. (John 8:7 “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone…”) I’m hoping if I open up honestly, others will join me on this journey. Together we can reach out and learn to share Christ.]
After confronting my fears, I began to wonder what sharing Jesus through speech really looks like for me. One of the ladies in my group had mentioned we can show love with our actions. We don’t have to say it with our mouth. But I felt a bit conflicted with that idea, because if we never say the name of Jesus, how will others hear it?
When my husband, Chris, and I volunteered for Central’s Middle School program a few years back, I remember, Keith Hoggard (the middle school director at the time) sitting down all the leaders and having us write out our testimony. He asked us the question, “What has Jesus done for you lately?” He wanted us to write it out, find the words, keeping it real and relevant. Any bit of fake, students would figure out. Then Keith encouraged us in our small groups to share our stories with our students. Sharing was humbling, but impactful. Sharing allowed our students a glimpse into our souls and to ask the questions, “Is Christ real?” and “What is He doing in my life?”
I know people who model how to share Jesus beautifully. Jesus is such an integral part of their lives He is in their daily vocabulary spilling over with gratitude and amazing examples of grace ready to be shared. God’s goodness just leaks out of all their pores. So I stop and ask myself the question again, “Who do I say Jesus is?”
Let me give this a try…
Jesus is my first breath in the morning as I am grateful for new opportunities and a shot at a new day; plus, He is my relief for the first mistake (and second…and third…) I make each day as His grace is ready to cover me and His hand is ready to reach out to help steady me when I stumble.
Jesus also is:
My provider as I crunch down on my morning breakfast cereal and share a prayer with my family.
My comforter as I take my concerns and disappointments to Him moment by moment. He is also my backbone as I make mistakes; He helps me my face consequences and more importantly forgives me when I ask.
My wisdom as I ask for guidance throughout my day in my work and with raising my children. I desperately need His help. He often sends help in the form of a wise neighbor or a phone call from my mom at my neediest times.
My courage as I face fear and move forward into each new waiting opportunity.
My friend as I don’t have to do life alone when I’m with Him. When I’m afraid to try something new, I pray for Jesus to hold my hand (and even lift me through the door I’m terrified to step through). Jesus always gives me assurance and support.
My shield and my banner as He goes before me preparing the way even before I get there.
My rest at the end of the day and the peace that reminds me the world is not mine to carry.
My Salvation, my Savior, and my Messiah, but oh even more than that… Jesus is personal and I want to share Him with you and recommend you give Him a try.
The list continues on. Only the question is now passed to you. “Who do you say Jesus is?” Share that thought with someone today.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.” 1 Peter 1:8 ESV
Central Member & Guest Blogger