Recently I’ve begun a hobby in sales, which has caused me to see salespeople in a new way and to consider my own sales process. I’ve also been noticing that Jesus was a TERRIBLE salesperson. Rather, He wasn’t a salesperson at all! He wouldn’t let His disciples say goodbye to their families (Luke 9:59-62), He demanded His followers give up everything they had (Luke 14:25-27, Mat 19:20-21), He spoke in parables so that only the ones who wanted to understand would hear His message (Mark 4:9-12), He ministered to people with great miracles and then told them not to tell anyone (Mat 8:2-4), He at one point confronted His disciples and told them not to follow Him anymore if they didn’t want to (John 6:60-71), and He promised them persecution (Luke 21:12, John 15:20). If “selling” Himself and His gospel was the goal, these weren’t the best techniques.
Jesus could have created a large following, changed the government, declared Himself King, stayed alive, and lived a happy human life. But it wasn’t His mission. He wanted to change the whole whole by conquering sin and death and salvaging humanity from the chains of the devil. He wanted to save the people then AND the people yet to be born (us); and He wanted to rescue us both from the pain of sin now AND from the pain of Hades that was due to us. He spent His life on us, so that we might have eternal life through Him. Later, He will come back to declare Himself King, change the government, win the war, and enjoy life with us–the earth will be baptized in fire and the heavens will open. It won’t be good news for everyone, but we get to decide carefully whether to on Jesus’ team or against Him.
I love that God does not infringe on our free will. We can make whatever choice we decide is best for us (to accept Him, or maybe not to), and He wants us to fully consider our spiritual choices. Jesus said:
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not [by comparison of his love for Me] hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” (Luke 14:26-33)
Here in California there are many building developments that halted when the economy dropped that will likely never be finished. And I can think of at least one “king” who started a war he couldn’t finish. But Jesus says, don’t be stupid like that. Consider following Me. If you believe I’m the Messiah, that I died on your behalf, that I rose again and am still alive in heaven waiting for the harvest of My people to be ripe so I can return to remove evil from the earth–if you believe I am who I say I am and that I’m worth it: give up everything and follow Me.
Jesus didn’t come to trick and manipulate people. He’s not a conniving cult leader. And yet a portion of the Jews believed Him, began to spread the gospel and started this thing we call Christianity. If you aren’t a follower of Jesus, you should carefully consider whether He is worth following. And if you love Jesus like I do, let me remind and encourage you that it’s not our job to convince anyone of anything–just to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, and to share the good news of the gospel in a way that allows everyone the chance to consider if Jesus is Lord.