As believers, we have a responsibility to share the message of Jesus with others. But reaching all the people who need Jesus can be difficult. That’s why each of us needs to be an ambassador for Christ…
The Challenge of Reaching Those Who Need Jesus
Not too long ago, I found myself sitting in an international airport in Southeast Asia. In order to make my trip slightly more affordable, I had opted to have a long layover—a very long layover—over 10 hours. All of it at night. So, touring the city was going to be a no-go for me.
Instead, I sat, unable to sleep due to jet lag, in one of the main halls of the airport. I spent my time people-watching. Hour after hour after hour, hundreds and hundreds of people walked by me. At first, I was just watching, interested in the way that people walked and communicated with one another. But as I sat there longer, the Lord began to burden my heart. It started with what felt like a whisper, “Nathan, I love these people.” By hour four or five, I was close to tears as I became overwhelmed by the sheer massive need of so many people who probably didn’t know Jesus.
The more people I saw, the more the burden increased. I began to wonder what could be done about the immense need of these people. I felt so small.
How could anyone reach each and every one of these individuals?
I began thinking through potential solutions: “Well maybe I can just stand up and preach,” I thought to myself. That idea quickly fell to the wayside, as I realized most of them probably did not speak English. Not to mention, they were in a rush (they would have only heard me sharing a few words as they walked by). If I wanted to reach all the people, preaching in the airport would not work.
Slowly the reality began to sink in. I am just one person—one ambassador for Christ—and there are thousands in front of me who need Jesus. I could reach some! But certainly not all of them. I realized if I really wanted to see each and every one of these people hear about Jesus, I would need help. That’s the only legitimate solution.
Why We Are Each Called to Be an Ambassador for Christ
Interestingly Jesus came to the same conclusion in Matthew 9:35-38. It says, “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” That is the same feeling I was feeling in the airport, overwhelmed by so many people with a need for Jesus.
So, what does Jesus do?
He turns to the disciples and says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Jesus’ solution is simple: more laborers. He knew that He needed help!
Paul comes to the same conclusion in Romans 10. The only difference is that he calls these helpers “beautiful feet”—or beautiful footed messengers (as I like to call them).
In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul comes up with another term to describe these laborers: ambassadors for Christ. In verses 17-21, Paul basically says, as a follower of Jesus, you have been reconciled to Christ. As a result, Christ has given you a mission to share about this reconciliation with others, so now you are meant to be an ambassador for Christ.
The vision for world impact from the very beginning of the Jesus movement was for ordinary people who have encountered Jesus to become…
- His messengers
- His laborers
- His beautiful-footed proclaimers
- His ambassadors
It happens in Acts 8. In this chapter, the earliest followers of Jesus begin to encounter persecution, and as a result, they begin to spread from Jerusalem to other parts of Judea and Samira. The only ones who did not move were the apostles. Meaning the people who spread were the ordinary, everyday followers of Jesus. Look what happens in verse 4, “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” These ordinary followers of Jesus were among the first to begin to spread the message outside of Jerusalem. That’s a big deal!
In many modern churches all around the world, this is a forgotten teaching. Many have relegated the responsibility to share the message of Jesus to the professional Christian: the pastors, the missionaries, and the people who get paid. But as you can see above, that was never the vision!
What to Learn from Jesus about Being Ambassadors
We are all called to be Christ’s ambassadors. If we are going to really follow Jesus, it means getting serious about proclaiming the message and making an impact for Christ.
The only question left is, “How?”
Good news! Jesus answered this question. He showed us how to live as His ambassadors. Take a look at almost any story in the gospels where Jesus meets someone, and you will begin to notice a pattern.
Take, for example, the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-9. Jesus is traveling through Jericho when He sees Zacchaeus in a tree and invites Himself over. After spending some time with Jesus, Zacchaeus repents of his sin, and as a result, Jesus says, “Salvation has come to this house today.”
Jesus does a few things that each of us can imitate as ambassadors for Christ.
3 Ways to Be an Ambassador for Christ
Here are three ways to be an ambassador for Christ…
Jesus sees Zacchaeus. In verse 5, Jesus intentionally looks up and sees Zacchaeus. I believe Jesus had to be intentional about this. As ambassadors for Christ, we also need to be intentional about seeing people. We need to open our eyes and see the people who are around us every day.
Jesus stopped. Take note that Jesus didn’t just see and keep moving. He stopped. This is hard for many modern Christians, who always seem to be rushing from one place to another. We must discipline ourselves as ambassadors for Christ to stop in the midst of the busyness. If we don’t stop, we likely won’t have the opportunity to do the most important thing…
- Spend time
Jesus spent time with Zacchaeus and so many others. This is the key! This is the most important thing. When we spend time with people, we gain the opportunity to be a true ambassador for Christ, representing our King and His kingdom to whoever may be standing in front of us at that moment. In this time, you may find yourself listening, serving, encouraging, or even sharing the good news.