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After His resurrection but before He was taken up into Heaven to be with His Father, the Bible tells us that Jesus gave His disciples final instructions:

"Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation..." (Mark 16:15).

Hopefully that applied just to the original Jewish followers, you are thinking.  After all, He was speaking directly to them. 

You find it unbelievably inappropriate to blurt out the Gospel spontaneously, especially to total strangers!  You don't want to look like a fool.

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.  And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."  (Matthew 28:18-20).

Ah oh!  The original Jewish believers did not see the end of the age.  They died thousands of years ago.  Was Jesus talking to His future disciples, too?  Was He talking to you and to me?

There's no escaping the fact that Jesus did not just ask but commanded His followers (present and future) to share what they know to be true about Him (i.e., that He is our hope for salvation; that accepting His blood sacrifice on the cross as our own blood sacrifice is the one and only way that God has appointed for us to cover the sins that separate us from Him). 

But He also made a reassuring promise.  He promised that He would be with us. 

You may be right that it would be counter-productive to blurt out the Gospel spontaneously to a complete stranger.  If they already have a bad opinion of "Christians pushing their narrow-minded beliefs down everyone's throats," your approach won't help convince them otherwise, and they likely won't absorb your words.

Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 explained, "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

Paul describes the followers of Jesus as His ambassadors.  The simplest meaning of the word ambassador is authorized messenger or representative.   We have been authorized to share the most important message that has ever been made on this planet, the message that if accepted by another person will transport them from darkness to light, separation to acceptance, death to life, sin to righteousness. 

As ambassadors, we are working for someone else, sharing someone else's message, and need to be careful of our approach.  Otherwise we can actually do more harm than good.  That is why the promise of Jesus that He will be with us always is so reassuring. 

Witnessing should not be too terrifying to contemplate, especially in North America.  The first Christians had much more to fear.  Not only their reputation but their material, financial, physical lives were impacted.  Some lost their physical lives by stoning or crucifixion because of their witness for Christ.  Today, in other parts of the world, Christians are persecuted, even to the point of physical death because they refuse to stop witnessing to their faith in Jesus Christ. 

We need to be ready and willing to share what we know to be true about Jesus, no matter what the cost to us personally.  And we need to pray for and be open to the direction of the Holy Spirit re: how to do this with maximum positive impact.  We are told in the Bible that we have been given gifts - spiritual gifts and talents.  Some are given a talent for sharing the Gospel through public speaking.  Others through writing, music or art.  Still others have an amazing ability to comfort those in distress and to share God's word with people when they are most open to receiving it.  And others may be in the position to make available Christian printed material to the public.  Some are able to give substantial financial support to evangelical groups.

Being afraid of witnessing is a common problem among Christians.  But we can take comfort in knowing that we are not alone.  God wants us to succeed in our witnessing efforts much more than we do because He loves all of His creation.  And He will be with us and enable us beyond what we can do ourselves when He calls us to be His ambassador in a given situation.

"Peace I leave with you: My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful..." (John 14:27).

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