Some years ago, TV commercials for a food-processing appliance proudly proclaimed that this new innovation “slices, dices, and makes Julienne Fries!” Today, that phrase continues to be used, tongue-in-cheek, to convince people of the amazing capabilities of any new gadget and is emblematic of what we refer to as the advertising “claim”—the part of the ad that seeks to create a perception of superiority. It is the job of the advertiser to then convince consumers by providing evidence of this superiority. And so products offer evidence that they are stronger, faster-acting, easier, more effective, longer-lasting, and better-tasting, just to name a few.
When Jesus came on the scene 2,000 years ago, he started his mission by making a startling claim. He stood up in the synagogue in Nazareth and read the following passage from Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18–19)
He then proclaimed: “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21) That’s the startling part! Jesus claimed that he was the fulfillment of the greatest hopes and desires of God’s people! When the imprisoned John the Baptist sought confirmation that Jesus was the “real thing,” Jesus replied: “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” (Luke 7:22)
Proclaiming the Good News of Jesus necessitates proclaiming his amazing deeds. On Pentecost, in the first proclamation of the Gospel—known as the kerygma—Peter wasted no time in recalling Jesus’ amazing deeds: “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.” (Acts 2:22)
When we proclaim the Good News of Jesus, we must remember that those to whom we proclaim are wondering, “Who is this Jesus? What has he done?” and “What can he do for me?” It is incumbent on us to tell the stories of Jesus’ amazing deeds, beginning with the stories we have in Scripture in which he opens the eyes of the blind, heals the sick, changes water into wine, calms the storm, and raises people from the dead. But we must not stop there; we must tell the stories of the amazing things that Jesus has done and is doing for us! We need to share how Jesus has transformed us, healed us (whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually), and raised us to new life.
If you and I are going to be more evangelizing catechists, we need to pause and ask ourselves, “What great things has Jesus done for me?” and then we need to tell those stories. Spend some time in prayer, asking Jesus to help you see the ways he has touched your life, transformed you, and healed you. And then, ask him to help you tell your story.
Read the other articles in the How to Be a More Evangelizing Catechist series.
Download a flyer of the nine strategies. Go deeper with these ideas by reading my book, Under the Influence of Jesus: The Transforming Experience of Encountering Christ.
Leave a Reply