A MEDITATION ON LUKE 7:1-10
I find one of the most difficult aspects of being a Christian is how to share my faith with my neighbours. Looking back, I believe this is partly due to being raised in a church where it was believed that the more ‘culturally relevant’ you make the gospel, the more likely people will embrace Christianity. Coming from this background has left me feeling I must be both smart and pithy enough to argue someone into the kingdom while making the gospel palatable to the modern (or post-modern) mind.
This week, however, I found myself rather convicted by of gospel. Here in Luke 7 we find the most unlikely believer in the first century world. A Roman officer stationed in a backwater town of the empire. It is obvious he is a gentile (non-Jew in every sense of the word), who stands outside the covenant between God and His people. He is also a man of social standing and personal means. Wealthy enough, for example, to build a place of worship for the local populace. An unlikely believer, yet here he is in Luke’s gospel (and Matthew’s) seeing Jesus, recognizing the Saviour’s authority, and approaching him with humility and faith. We see in the story of the elders that God has already been active in his life, seemingly preparing him for this very moment with Jesus.
We stand reminded, friends, that faith and conversion are a work of the Holy Spirit. This moment was not due to how smart soldier was. There were many who knew the scriptures and ‘things of God’ better and ultimately rejected Jesus. Nor was this moment due to the palatability of the Jewish faith or message of Jesus, as both were considered beneath a member of the Roman cultural machine. This, I hope, is a solace to us as we seek to live out and share our faith within an equally foreign world. It does not depend on you, friend. Conversion depends on God, through Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our call is to simply recognize where God is active in those we meet and share our faith as clearly as we are enabled by the Holy Spirit. As one writer described, perhaps the best ‘method’ for evangelism is to seek for those who the Lord has made red-apples on the tree of our community, ready to be harvested for the Kingdom. These seekers could be those with questions, those in life circumstances which have them crying out for more, or simply those who, by God’s grace, see our lives and want to know how we account for the joy and hope that sets us apart. I pray that God gives you the opportunity to share your faith this week, and the grace in the moment to make the Word bear fruit for Jesus.