“The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.””
John 1:43-45 ESV
One of the most challenging things for followers of Jesus seems to be bringing others along on the journey. Study after study and interview after interview have shown this. A 2014 survey from Lifeway Research (https://research.lifeway.com/2014/01/02/study-churchgoers-believe-in-sharing-faith-most-never-do/) found that less than 22% of Christians had shared Christ in some fashion in the last 6 months. A 2016 survey found that more than 40% of unchurched people in the USA have never had the Gospel shared or explained to them.
There are all sorts of reasons people don’t share their faith, many of which we’ve been dealing with for a long time (fear of rejection, feel unprepared, etc). But what should really be alarming for followers of Christ is the increasing percentage of “Christians” who don’t believe it is the responsibility of Christians to share their faith (33% in a Barna Survey).
Now, I know, figures lie and liars figure, but these numbers tell a story that jives with my own personal anecdotes. Not only are we reluctant to share Jesus with a world in desperate need, we increasingly don’t think that’s our job to do.
When you look at the passage of John 1 that I started with, there are some key truths to understand:
1. Jesus Found Philip. Salvation begins and ends with Jesus. He pursues us, and we, led by the Holy Spirit, respond to him. Jesus told Philip to follow him.
2. Philip Followed Jesus. We don’t have the details. Was he fishing? Did an organist show up and play all the verses of “Just As I Am” while Jesus stood by an altar? That stuff doesn’t matter. What is important is that Philip followed Jesus. Sometimes we get so caught up on methods that we forget the mission.
3. Philip Found Nathanael. The first thing Philip did wasn’t to attend a new members class or sign up for baptism. He didn’t join the choir or become a member of the worship team. No, as soon as Jesus found Philip, Philip went after Nathanael.
Found People Find People. Philip went after someone who needed to know who Jesus was. He didn’t wait. He just went. And if you look at what he said to Nathanael, you’ll see that his theology wasn’t perfect. He didn’t understand the virgin birth or that Jesus was the second person of the Trinity. All that would come in due time. But he did understand two important things:
1. That Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior.
2. That he and Nathanael needed to follow this Savior.
Who are the people in your life today that need to know Jesus? Who is someone that you can, without having a perfect grasp of doctrine and theological principles, can invite to church or tell them that Jesus has saved you? Found people find people. If Jesus has changed you, it’s time to bring others along on the journey.