The opening chapters of John’s gospel shows us examples of people inviting others to come to Jesus. Since this is an important part of living for Christ, let’s take a look at what happens here and see if we can learn how to do a better job of extending invitations for people to follow Jesus.
John 1:40-42a says, “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus…”
Here we see that inviting people to come to Jesus should be one of our top priorities. After discovering for himself that Jesus was the Messiah, the very first thing he did was to find his brother and bring him to Jesus. Maybe we should re-evaluate our priorities and put evangelism at the top of the list!
We also see that the first person Andrew thought of was his brother. Out of all the people he could have witnessed to, he thought of his brother first. The people we are closest to are the ones most likely to listen to our thoughts about Jesus and to respond to our invitations. Therefore, we should give our best efforts toward evangelizing family and friends. If we have a close relationship with someone, they are much more likely to accept any invitation we offer to come and experience Jesus for themselves.
We see the same thing happen later in the chapter. Philip responded to Jesus’ invitation to follow him. Philip immediately found Nathanael and told him about Jesus. Nathanael was skeptical at first, but came to check out Jesus and became convinced that he needed to follow Jesus too (John 1:43-51).
Here we see that there might be some initial reluctance on the part of our family and friends to accept the invitations that we offer them to come to church or to truly consider the claims that Jesus made that he was the Savior of the world. Let’s not get discouraged if it takes some time to convince people that following Jesus is the best way to go. Let’s be patient and persistent with our invitations.
Moving on to chapter 4, we find Jesus’ famous encounter with the woman at the well. This woman not only had a sinful past, she was currently living with a man to whom she was not married. But Jesus took the time to talk with her, and she became convinced that he just might be the Messiah. She got so excited that she left her water jar at the well and rushed into town to tell the people there about Jesus.
This was a brave act on the part of this woman. The people of her village probably looked down on her, and possibly shunned her, because of her sinful lifestyle. However, she ignored the stigma and witnessed to them. They made their way toward Jesus to see for themselves what this man was all about. They put their faith in Jesus and accepted him as the Savior of the world, all because of the woman’s testimony.
Here we learn that Jesus can use anyone to bring people to him. It doesn’t matter what you have done in the past, if you put your trust in Jesus and repent of your sins, the Lord can use you to draw others to him.
Finally, let’s remember that the true power of an invitation rests in the personhood of Jesus himself. We are not simply inviting people to a church service. We are inviting them to Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world! That’s a powerful invitation!