We read about Jesus’ encounter with this gentleman in Luke 10:25-37. In this case, the lawyer initiated a conversation about spiritual matters. It is written, “And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’” (Luke 10:25).
How wonderful that a person would ask about eternal life! Was he sincerely seeking to learn God’s will? His response to the Master and his future life will demonstrate his attitude and commitment to the truth. You and I are blessed when we have people approach us to inquire about matters pertaining to the soul!
What can we observe in Jesus’ dealings with this lawyer? When the man asked about eternal life, Jesus in turn asked him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” (10:26). What was the Master doing? Pointing to God’s word as the standard of authority. If we are going to have a fruitful study with someone, we must point out to them that God’s word is our sole standard of authority in all religious and moral matters. Regardless of the teaching method we use in a one-on-one study, early in the study we need to establish the authority of the Bible.
Second, Jesus believed in the man’s ability to hear, reason, and understand (10:26). We need to take that same approach with people. God’s appeal always has been to come and reason together (Isaiah 1:18).
Jesus gave the lawyer credit when he gave a right answer. When the man gave the correct response to Jesus’ questions, He told him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live” (10:28). Jesus’ words served as a positive reinforcement of the truth.
Fourth, Jesus used an illustration. To help the man see who his “neighbor” was, the Christ told the story which we call “The Parable of the Good Samaritan” (10:30-35). When you use earthly illustrations, make sure you use examples that people can understand.
What else? Jesus asked “open” questions. One of them was: “So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” (10:36). Be prepared to use open questions to get a person engaged in the study and to reveal what he is thinking.
Finally, our Lord pointed to the man’s personal responsibility to obey God’s will. When the lawyer properly identified the one who acted as a neighbor in the story Jesus told, what did Jesus tell Him? “Go and do likewise” (10:37). That is what you call appealing to a prospect to make personal application to what he has learned. Learning without application is empty.
We need to imitate Jesus’ evangelistic methods!
Adapted from Roger D. Campbell