A while ago, I contrasted Christ’s style of evangelism. I have only chosen two scenarios, specifically John chapter three and four, Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman at the well. There are many examples, but I have chosen Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman since they are only a chapter apart, one walked away accepting Christ and one did not.
I have written about the differences, Nicodemus was a scholar and the Samaritan women was not. They were both religious, but one was Jewish, and the other was Samaritan (Jew and Gentile). One was a highly respected man, the other, a woman of ill reputation. Nicodemus came to Jesus at night, the Samaritan women approached Jesus at midday. Nicodemus wanted to know who Jesus was, Jesus asked the Samaritan woman for water. How is it possible that Nicodemus walked away empty, and the Samaritan woman walked away full?
Jesus spoke to different people, with different personalities, beliefs, perceptions, religion, and heritage. But, Jesus consistently used His environment, he was an excellent illustrator. Out of curiosity Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. Nicodemus was trusting in his Jewish heritage, the law, and tradition. He was an Israelite, one of God’s chosen people. What does Jesus say to him? Ye must be born again. Nicodemus could not depend on his national heritage to save him. Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. What does Jesus do? He contrasts light with darkness. Can you see how Jesus is using particular characteristics about the people who He is talking with, relating the environment to their personal needs?
Jesus asked the Samaritan woman for water, and then He offers her water that will eternally quench her thirst. But, Jesus was the one who needed water, and he had nothing to draw the water with. On the surface it seemed (to the Samaritan woman) that Jesus was the one with the need. Jesus tells her, but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4.14) The concept of never drawing water, never coming to the well, sounded really good to the Samaritan woman. She wanted some of this water. Jesus used water as a metaphor to reveal Himself. His metaphor opened the door for dialogue, and eventually Jesus persuaded the Samaritan woman that He was the Messiah.
Jesus used metaphors, light and darkness, water, and fields that are ready to harvest. What does this mean for us? When sharing our faith with others, it would be a good idea to use the metaphors that Jesus used. This method worked for Jesus, He simplified His message for clarity. And, since Jesus treated each person with respect, and tried to reach each person (within their personality, perceptions, ethnicity, religion, and traditions). We should follow His example.
What motivated Jesus?
What should motivate us?