Theology Impacting Outreach
Have you ever given much thought to how Jesus’ incarnation should impact our outreach? Consider God’s greatest wonder, the Incarnation. The eternal Son of God willingly became one of us. God did the unspeakable. He came into our world, into our culture, into our space and time. Jesus subjected Himself to an alien environment to reach the lost. In his book, The Person of Christ, Donald Macleod rightly asserts, “He lived not in sublime detachment or in ascetic isolation, but ‘with us,’ as ‘the fellow man of all men,’ crowded, busy, harassed, stressed and molested. No large estate gave him space, no financial capital guaranteed his daily bread, no personal staff protected him from interruptions and no power or influence protected him from injustice. He saved us from alongside us.” God did what we find uncomfortable, that is, going into hard and uneasy places to give others the greatest news.
In John 3:16 it states, “For God so loved the world,” and in Mark 2:17, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” The actions of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ set for us a pattern to follow. If God, the Lord Jesus Christ, was willing to enter the alien environment of this sinful world, why do we find it hard to see that we must do the same? The Great Commission of our Lord has as its foundation the actions of God as displayed in all the Bible’s narrative: God’s mission to seek and to save the lost. God did not abandon humanity to a life of sin and destruction; He promised a Redeemer. From the Garden of Eden to the Great Commission, God is the one taking the initiative to seek and save the lost. God by extension is still reaching the lost world through His church. However, we are not always faithful to this responsibility. We must seek out the lost and find practical ways to be faithful to Christ.
In the Incarnation, God did the most practical. He became one of us to save, redeem and incarnate the invisible God to us. If our Savior was willing to set aside His glory for a time, how willing should we be to follow our Savior’s example? We need to learn what it means to live this out. Christ did save us from alongside us, and God desires us to do the same. In the worlds we live in - home, work, play, and community - we must enter relationships with others so that we can develop a platform for the good news. Through His Incarnation, Jesus made humanity His platform for revealing God to us. Jesus as man came to preach that the Kingdom of God has come. It was from the platform of His humanity this was made possible (Mk. 1:15). It is my prayer that God will help us see that theology is not stale and dusty, but instructive and a real call to action.
May the implication of the Incarnation help us live our lives in a manner that seeks out the lost where they live, rather than hoping they will come to us, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us,” (Jn. 1:14).