As Christians, we often look at the Gospel of John, and the rest of the New Testament, with an eye toward understanding who Jesus said He was, and what that means to our daily lives as His followers. Non-Christians do not read the Gospel through that same lens.
Many, actually probably most, of the Non-Christians we meet today have no concept of who Jesus was or what He did. And, if you’re like most Christians I know, you automatically thought I should have written “who Jesus is” not was. That clearly shows the difference between the Christian and the Non-Christian.
Here is radical concept for you. When you ask a Non-Christian to read and discuss the Gospel of John, you’re first step is to help the person understand who Jesus said He was and what the Gospel writer said Jesus did. And that’s a mighty big step!
Most Non-Christians are not going to assume that the Gospel of John is a completely historical document. They have heard from many other places that the stories have been fabricated, that the miracles never occurred, that archaeology proves the Bible wrong… How many other arguments have they heard?
Your objective in reading the Gospel of John with your friend is not to prove that the Bible is accurate, or that Jesus is who He said He was. It’s simply to expose him to what the Gospel says about Jesus – who He said He was and what He said.
Your objective is not to argue your friend into the Kingdom. Rather, you want to expose him to the claims for Christ. If he doesn’t agree, acknowledge that disagreement and move on. You could say, “Yes, there was I time when I didn’t agree with that either. Let’s keep reading and see what else it says.”
This is not a cop out. It’s exposing someone to the Word of God and letting the Word stew in his heart. You probably did not come to Christ after one or two conversations. Don’t expect your friend to do that either.
Just stay focused on what Jesus said and did. The conversation should revolve around what Jesus said and did, and what it might mean if it is true. Don’t argue that it is true; your friend probably isn’t there yet, and you could them less willing to read if you force them into the “right” interpretation.
This will be an opportunity for you to patiently guide your friend to decide that the stories about Jesus are possibly true. Once they reach that conclusion, then they need to consider the ramifications of following the truth.
On my next post, we’ll start in John 1 and give you some questions to help guide your conversation.