People loved Jesus as He ministered on this earth! Men, women, and children of all walks of life, including some Pharisees, followed Him non-stop, forcing Him to find deserted places late at night to pray. He could not get away from them. Whenever Jesus was visible there were crowds around Him. People could not get enough of Him, they wanted to connect with Him, see Him, hear Him, and touch Him. In several occasions the disciples had to ask the question: what are we going to do with the crowd?
What caused people to love Jesus? What made people follow Him so intensely?
As I read the Gospels, I can see that:
Jesus was not loved because of His dress. The Bible does not say much about Jesus and dress, it mentions His clothing during the crucifixion, as the soldiers played at the foot of the cross for His garments, but not much more.
Jesus was not followed because of His diet. Jesus was not a vegetarian. I am vegan, and by the way, this does not increase my odds for salvation, we are not saved by eating lettuce and tomatoes, we can only be saved by Jesus. Yet, getting back to the point, people did not follow Jesus because He was vegetarian.
Jesus was nor loved or followed because of His taste of music. Scripture does not elaborate much, at all, regarding Jesus and His taste of music.
Jesus was not even followed and loved because of His perfection. After all, when was the last time that you told someone that you are better than him or her, and they continue to like you and stick around you?
People followed Jesus because Jesus loved them. People loved Jesus because Jesus loved people.
If people are not flocking to us, our churches are not full, and our ministries are not thriving, perhaps we have not been doing what Jesus did, and definitely need to learn some more from Jesus. Let’s stop saying that our churches are empty because we preach an unpopular message and let’s begin to love people. We have a very complete package of beliefs, the problem is not our message, our challenge is our lack of love and compassion for people.
The biggest Revival & Reformation our Adventist Church in North America needs is to be filled with the Love of God and the Compassion of Jesus. As long as we continue to argue about dress, diet, music, and other things, we will never fulfill the mission that Jesus gave us. There is no better evangelism than freely sharing the Love of God and the Compassion of Jesus in practical ways in our homes, our churches, and communities.
A Lifestyle of Compassion is real Evangelism. Not everyone can preach or teach, but we all can love and serve, and that is Evangelism. If you don’t agree ask Jesus.
Pastor Jose Cortes Jr., is an Associate Ministerial Director and Leads Evangelism for the Adventist Church in North America.