The holiday season is a time for gathering with family and friends to enjoy a feast and express gratitude. But amidst the festivities, we learn a profound lesson from Jesus – the art of Festive Evangelism. Reflecting on Jesus’ constant pleas and open invitation, we discover valuable insights for our evangelistic efforts.
Jesus Is Ever Pleading
John 7:37: On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
Picture the scene: Jesus extending his invitation on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles after tirelessly preaching every day for a week. Despite being among people who listen but won’t commit, he never ceases to pursue and plead. This persistence, even in the face of disbelief, teaches us a crucial lesson. Whether it is with a spouse, a loved one, a coworker, a friend, or a child, learn from Jesus and extend the invitation. Your faithfulness matters more than immediate results.
His Invitation is Open: “If anyone thirsts…”
“If anyone thirsts…” is an open call to all who would listen, transcending societal boundaries. Jesus doesn’t discriminate based on wealth, race, age, or any other factor. This challenges our tendency to overthink sharing the gospel and worrying about theological precision. Jesus’ simplicity – inviting all to be satisfied in Him – should guide our approach. Don’t let theological complexities of doctrines like election or particular atonement cause you to overcomplicate the simple offer to find satisfaction in Jesus.
Invite the Person, Not the Policy: “…let him come to me and drink.”
Being a faithful Festive Evangelist means inviting people to Jesus, not to a set of rules or policies. Focus on Jesus rather than secondary matters. Inviting people to law-keeping or church attendance isn’t equivalent to inviting them to Jesus. The goal should be spiritual regeneration, not mere behavior modification.
The Spirit Is With Us: John 7:38–39: Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Jesus promises to quench our thirst with His Spirit, a fulfillment beyond what was experienced in the Old Testament. While the Spirit was present in God’s people in the Old Testament, the power of the Spirit fell on individual men of God, like Moses or Elijah, in a unique way. Acts 2 at Pentecost marks a transformative moment. The power of the Holy Spirit falls on all believers in greater measure, and the Spirit brings the completed work of Christ to fruition in us, and the evidence of His doing so is in the fruit of our lives——love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians ).
The Spirit’s work manifested differently in individuals in the early church; we see a diverse array of gifts. Some prophesied, others spoke in tongues, and some had the gift of healing; however, the consistent work of the Spirit in all believers then and now is seen in our sanctification– a beautiful array of virtues that align with the teachings of Christ.
Let’s learn from Jesus, the Festive Evangelist.
Alexander Wade is the lead teaching pastor at Worthy Redeemer Church in Huntsville, Alabama. “Wade,” as his friends call him, studied marketing and played football at Northwestern College, and audio engineering at McNally Smith College of Music. Wade is an MDiv student at the Reformed Baptist Seminary. He and his wife Alyssa have four children.