Jesus is the answer, but what is the question? I am not being tricky in asking. It is simply an observation that people have different motives for following Jesus. You hear it in our stories of faith. People have found in Jesus belonging, others healing, intimacy, proof. There are multiple reasons why Jesus is the answer for the world today. Hence why it is important to listen for the key life questions a person or society has.
As I listen to Aussies, I have not found many are concerned with their eternal destiny. People with some religious background might have a sense of being a sinner, but most don’t. A sense of shame seems pervasive, people don’t feel good enough. In our connected world, ‘where do I belong’ remains a profound question. I have met people looking for moral foundations as they observe secularism treating people so poorly. McCrindle Research has helpful work on faith and belief in Australia. They identified 10 belief blockers that Aussies have to Christian faith.
How is Jesus the answer to these questions? Researchers like McCrindle provide broad-brush observations for a population. You and I engage the person in front of us. For homework, can you do this? Write down these following seven words and reflect on how knowing Jesus answers questions of sin, shame, identity, belonging, purpose, proof, future.
When sharing with people I take a posture of listening for their deeper life questions. As I do so, I look to connect these questions with Jesus as their answer, in a way that hopefully makes sense to them. I understand not all of us are gifted evangelists, but we can prepare and position ourselves to be ready and able. After all, while not gifted, we may be the only evangelist the person in front of us has.