|Tissot, Abraham and the Three Angels|
He does not preach Church,
he preaches Christ.
In this he follows His Master, who in the gospels does not seek converts, but seeks that which is lost.
Never do we find that Jesus in His earthly ministry went after people.
Never do we see Him arguing a philosophical point to win over an opponent.
Never does He proselytize, but He does have words for those who do.
Ουαι υμιν γραμματεις και φαρισαιοι υποκριται οτι περιαγετε την θαλασσαν και την ξηραν ποιησαι ενα προσηλυτον και οταν γενηται ποιειτε αυτον υιον γεεννης διπλοτερον υμων.
Matthew 23:15 NIV
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.
What do we find instead?
Two disciples of a Jewish prophet, John the Forerunner, are directed by him, pointing to Jesus walking by and saying, ‘That is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.’ (John 1:29)
What did the two disciples do?
They followed after Jesus.
Because they believed the word of the prophet.
How did they approach Jesus?
They asked, ‘Rabbi, where do you live?‘
How does Jesus respond?
He says, ‘Come, and see!’
The encounter with the Truth is gentle. There is no compulsion exerted from the outside. Everything is accomplished inwardly. All movement is internal first, in the heart. Then, it is manifested by the feet, running after the Lord.
This is why the follower of Jesus does not argue semantically to win over an opponent. He does not preach Apollos. He doesn’t preach Paul. He doesn’t preach himself. No, he preaches Christ, and Him crucified, and risen from the dead.
People want to draw us into arguments, wrangling over words, but it is precisely this tactic that the evil one used when he wanted to entrap Christ. To every argument, Jesus responded not with human reason, but with the plain words of scripture.
The Word of God does not need to defend Himself.
He simply is what He is.
In the same way, brethren,
all who follow Jesus, all who believe and stand on the Word, who preach, like the angel of the last days, the eternal gospel,
just preach Christ,
by submitting all your thoughts to the Word of God,
to others by proving on the battlefield of your body that you follow Christ the Victor over sin,
and to all those whom the Lord places in your path
by your courtesy and generosity,
and by always having a spirit of welcome,
‘for men have welcomed angels without knowing it’ (Hebrews 13:2).