“Just Do it!” (Nike). “Have it your Way!” (Burger King). “There’s an App for that” (iPhone). Today, we are constantly bombarded by product messaging that wants to tell us how we should eat, live, love, and even speak. Unfortunately, this constant assault extends beyond just television. Radio, telemarketers, billboards, junk-mail, email, door-to-door salesman, and even those pesky internet banner ads are all-vying for your and my attention. It seems that no matter what great invention immerges, the big conglomerates immediately snatch it up, tweak it, and then repackage it so it can be resold back to the American public in its “new and improved” version. All this quick and easy living has brought America to the point where we feel almost “entitled” to have things our way.
Today, our need for self-indulgence has become so bad that it seems to infiltrate every aspect of our lives. Let me prove it… Ask yourself this; what is my primary means of communication today? I’ll be the first to admit that I’m that techno-nerd that stands in line at 3 AM for the latest version of the iPhone. I’m just as guilty as the next guy who finds it much easier to communicate with electronic devices than with man himself. This having been said, it should come as no surprise that people today use text messaging and email as their primary means of communication over verbalized speech. Thus, our ever-growing need to do things easier and faster seems to be gradually deteriorating our knowledge of how to verbally communicate with one another. Which brings one to ask, “If Jesus was ministering on earth today, would He use an iPhone?”
As we look back at the ministry of Jesus Christ, the Gospels details many ways Jesus chose to communicate. Yet, what’s interesting is that while blogs, email, and Facebook did not exist due to lack of technology, Jesus still managed to reach the masses while communicating His message of hope. As we read in John 8, Jesus kneels down and writes on the ground before a group of Scribes and Pharisees. So it’s clear Jesus had the ability to write and then have his message transcribed and passed amongst the regions. Yet, as most biblical accounts confirm, Jesus chose to communicate by using spoken words. In fact, the Gospels detail story after story of how Jesus approached people and spoke with them in one-on-one conversations. Jesus understood that the key to presenting the Gospel did not take place while hiding behind a computer screen as many of us do today. Jesus knew that the power of the voice held the key to how the Gospel was to be received. In fact, it’s worth noting that some of the most profound messages that Jesus ever conveyed took place while he was engaged in one-on-one conversations. Take for example the scripture that every new believer in Christ to the most esteemed pastoral leader loves to quote, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This quote occurred during a one-on-one conversation between Jesus and a religious man known as Nicodemus.
Have you ever noticed that many times when we hear someone sharing his or her faith it almost seems like a canned response? They repeat the same testimony; the same scriptures to everyone like an automated telephone answering system. Therefore, is it any wonder that we begin to see that same glazed look in the eyes of the person they’re speaking with? The person who once looked for guidance has now completely disconnected from the person speaking and all they’re doing now is trying to quickly come up with an excuse to get away from this newly perceived “religious nut.” Is this the example Jesus gave to us? While it may sound like a bit of a cliché, one of the best ways to determine how we as Christians should communicate today is by asking ourselves “W.W.J.D.?” Or, simply put, how would Jesus communicate His Gospel?
Not only is Jesus our Savior, our provider, and our deliverer; but He is also the perfect example of how we should communicate with others. If there is one thing we can learn from Jesus when it comes to communication, it’s that He took His time with people. He didn’t just stand there with His Starbucks latte in hand, and iPhone spilling out the latest trendy sermon of the day. No, Jesus took the time to adapt His conversations depending on each person’s needs and the situations unfolding in their lives. Throughout the ministry of Jesus Christ, we are able to see that whenever anyone needed healing or support, Jesus spoke. He knew that for a person to be healed or comforted was completely dependent on hearing His voice. Likewise, the scriptures declare, for within us holds the same healing and comforting powers as Christ. Jesus gave us the right and privilege to use His authority when we communicate. “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17-18).
Today we live in a technologically advanced society. Mass media and Internet resources make it much easier to essentially cast out the proverbial net and reach millions of people at the same time. Like Jesus who once stood atop a rock in an effort to amplify His voice to those seeking His truth; Christians have a plethora of electronic tools and websites available to cast out their nets. Yet, the one thing we need take away from this message is that Jesus understood people. He understood that there was a much greater difference than preaching at someone than there is when ministering to someone with a personal touch.
So to answer the question, “If Jesus was ministering on earth today, would He use an iPhone?” I believe that the answer would be, YES! There is no doubt that technology has enabled us to achieve widespread communication with people who we would never meet face-to-face. Yet, with every technological advance carries the curse of technology. The curse that keeps us from having personal interaction and true fulfilled relationships with those we share our daily lives, and unfortunately sometimes even in our own homes. The difference is that unlike most of us, I believe that Jesus would quickly come to understand the advantage of the on/off button. We as a society must come to understand that there needs to be a balance. We need to learn how to disconnect from technology. In closing, the words of the Gospel are strong on their own; but when delivered by ones voice they are magnified. Jesus would no doubt use every available tool to spread His message of hope, faith, and love; yet He would never forget that the true power of the Gospel lies within person-to-person contact and the relationships we take time in developing with one another.
Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…