I just returned from a road trip out to California. On the way, I talked with several guys who are interested in discussing John’s Gospel with a friend, co-worker, or neighbor. So it’s time to post another blog and help stimulate the discussion!
In John 2:1-12, Christians often focus on the first miracle performed by Jesus – turning water into wine. There are plenty of places where we can get distracted with a non-Christian in this historical event. First and foremost, many non-Christians will not believe that this miracle actually happened.
We can spend an inordinate amount of time arguing over whether Jesus did this of not with a non-Christian, or we can spend time talking about the surrounding details of the passage. Let’s take a look at a few questions that should help you engage a non-Christian.
Part of engagement includes asking questions that help you get to know the other person, and sharing your own answers so they can get to know you better as well. This first question is meant to do just that; whether the miracle occurred or not (of course, I believe it did), this question helps you engage.
For John 2:2 (and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.) Jesus is at a wedding in Cana and He is accompanied by His disciples. Or, perhaps a better perspective is that Jesus and His disciples were accompanying a fellow disciple—Nathanael —who was actually from Cana. Yes, I know that verse two says that Jesus and His disciples were invited, but have you ever been invited somewhere and told “Bring your friends with you”? But alas, I am already lost in the details!
Question 1: “Who would you invite to your wedding?” Of course, the question can also be asked in the past tense if someone is already married. The point of the question is to begin a discussion about who is really important in our lives – those are the people that we usually invite to a wedding. Have fun with this question. Use it to really understand the person sitting across from you.
For John 2:11 (What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.)
Question 2: How many miracles does John say Jesus did by this time?
This is an important question. Many non-Christians are aware of the stories of Jesus from the pseudo-Gospel of Thomas. As a child, Jesus reportedly fashioned a bird out of clay, blew on it, and the bird flew away. Or, another child bumped into Jesus, and was struck down dead. There are a number of television/cable programs that like to bring up these claims. However, John claims that the water-to-wine miracle was the first sign. Don’t make a big deal out of this; just look at the statement as a fact, one to conflicts with popular views. There will be more of those coming throughout John’s Gospel!
Also for John 2:11(What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.)
Question 3: How did Jesus show His glory?
And question 4: What would it take for you to believe in Jesus?
This final question, is not asking the person to believe, rather, what would have to happen that would result in believing. This is a question that may not have an immediate answer. Let the question stew in the mind of the non-Christian. The Holy Spirit is totally capable to using this question to begin to help the Father draw the person closer to Himself.
A very good friend of mine has been taking a co-worker through the Gospel of John for several months, and I got to sit together with them one evening. When I asked this very question, the response was, “If Jesus came to me in a dream, then I would probably believe.”
Afterwards, my friend and I looked knowingly at each other. I said, “We need to pray for that man.” And my friend said, “Yes, for a dream!”
Here we are at the end of another discussion, and look at the choice things we have! We know about the kinds of friends that are most important to the non-Christian, and we know what it would take for that non-Christian to believe. What an opportunity!