Evangelism is one of those words that strikes a little fear (or maybe a lot) in the heart of Christians. Maybe the fear arises out of rejection from past attempts. Maybe the fear comes from possibly not knowing all the answers that could be asked. Maybe the fear and possibly the biggest reason of all is that we aren’t sure who Jesus is in the first place. Sure, we know the titles: Lord, Savior, Lamb of God, etc. However, do we know what the titles mean for life and their consequences? If we use a politically charged word like “Lord,” how then do we relate to those wanting to push political agendas? Is Jesus the giver of power and wealth to those managing to get life straightened out? Is Jesus the One coming with a purifying fire and judgment or with welcome to the sinner and compassion for the outcast? The church season is Epiphany which is about revealing Jesus and making him known. The best gift we can give to ourselves in Epiphany might be to take the effort and move beyond simply knowing the titles to understand the impact of the ones we use. Then, conform to who we say Jesus is in life.
In the reading out of John, John the Baptist sees Jesus passing by and points him out saying, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” This happened again the next day. The result was that a few disciples wanted to know where Jesus was staying. In other words, they were wanting to learn more from Jesus himself. Jesus’ response was simple, “Come and see.”
When John the Baptist pointed Jesus out from the crowd, he was giving to Jesus more than a title, “Lamb of God.” He was doing more than showing God’s sacrifice so we don’t have to continue sacrificing lambs. John the Baptist was pointing out Jesus as the One taking away our rebellion from God and the consequences. Knowing a title is nice. Not having to sacrifice lambs is a relief. Knowing Jesus as the One where our rebellion against God comes to an end is life changing which is why it takes a lifetime to know Jesus by heeding his invitation to “Come and see.”
Epiphany is about making Jesus known to the world. This is more than having a title to stick on him. If we are to make Jesus known, we must know him too. How do we do this? We take him up on his invitation, “Come and see.”