|11 April – Gil Odendaal, Vice President of Integral Mission – What have you seen?
How do I know if Jesus is impacting a community? Church leaders, Christian organization leaders, and ordinary Christ followers often ask this question: how do we evaluate the impact of what I/we/they are doing for the Kingdom of God? How do we know that Jesus is at work? How do we know that it is really Jesus who “showed up” where we minister, where I live?
This was exactly what John the Baptist wanted to know. Is this man really the Messiah? Is this Jesus of Nazareth really THE One we have been waiting for?
Jesus’ answer was profoundly simple. He did not try to convince John with theological arguments from the Bible (which He could have done) to prove that He was His Messiah. He didn’t present his lineage or demonstrate the many ways life fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament. And he didn’t condemn John or rebuke him for his lack of faith. Jesus could have asked, “Did you not baptize me? Did you not say you were not worthy to tie my sandals? How dare you ask me this question?”
Jesus did not.
Instead Jesus said to John’s disciples, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen—the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.”
John would be able to recognize that Jesus was the Messiah because of the seamless integration of the ministry of word and deed. Jesus deeply cared not only for the spiritual welfare of all people but also for their physical needs. He did both and that was the evidence he gave when asked whether He was indeed the Christ.
This is also how we know that Jesus showed up (in the words of the Micah declaration); when the gospel proclamation has observable social consequences, as we call people to love and repentance in all areas of life, and our social involvement has evangelistic consequences, as we bear witness to the transforming grace of Jesus Christ.
In light of this, can I really say, Jesus showed up where I work? Where I live? The Good News is He wants to.