FOLLOWING JESUS

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

 

ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION

(Part 31)

 

FOLLOWING JESUS

 

February 25, 2012

Today’s gospel: Luke 5:27-32

 

 

The call to Levi gives us some basic principles about our work as evangelizers.

First, why do we need to evangelize? Because there are sick people who need a physician (Lk 5:31). The greatest sickness is sin, and so the cure is repentance and faith. People who are in sin need to experience salvation. This salvation has already been won by Jesus on the cross. Jesus is the Great Physician. He brings spiritual healing and restoration.

Second, we evangelize those who are sinners and not the righteous (Lk 5:32). The righteous have no further need to be called to repentance, because they have already repented (but of course, repentance is ongoing, as falling into sin is continuing). This has a practical consequence in the way we evangelize. We have to go after those sinners, whom we will find in the normal day-to-day circumstances of our lives–among our friends, relatives, officemates, neighbors, etc. We do not just announce renewal programs in church (though there are churchgoers who are still in need of repentance), but rather we go after those who do not go to church.

Third, as Jesus calls us to be his instruments for proclaiming the good news of salvation and has made himself dependent upon us, then we need to seriously apply ourselves to the work as evangelizers. We get up and follow Jesus, leaving everything behind (Lk 5:28), meaning to say, we consider this call and work to be of the highest priority. It is God himself who calls, it is divine work itself that we are given, and it is the very salvation of others that are at stake. What greater work could there be for a disciple of Christ?

Fourth, realizing the great privilege in this call, we must rejoice. We become co-workers of Christ himself. We become instruments of salvation. If we truly realized what is happening, we should actually give a great banquet in celebration (Lk 5:29a).

Fifth, since we are doing God’s all-important work, we will certainly be opposed by the enemy. Even our relatives and friends might complain (Lk 5:30), failing to understand why we are doing what we are doing. We simply continue, knowing how Jesus himself, and now Levi, were criticized and maligned.

 

Jesus is constantly looking for workers to bring in the harvest. He sees ordinary people going about their day-to-day tasks, and says to them, “Follow me.” (Lk 5:27). We have already received that call. We have already been extended the wonderful privilege. Let us continue, with great joy, to evangelize.

 

*     *     *