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Often, the majority of effective witnessing is listening. After a nonbelieving friend has viewed The Passion, engage him or her in conversation. I suggest two simple questions you can ask:

First ask, “What did you think?” People’s response to this simple question will likely reveal the level of their understanding concerning Jesus and His saving work. Nonbelievers are in a variety of spiritual conditions. Some are seeking spiritual truth. Others are indifferent or even hostile. We need the Holy Spirit’s wisdom to respond appropriately to each person.

Then ask, “How did you feel?” This question will address people on an emotional level and give you a sense of how the Holy Spirit is dealing with them.

Let people talk … and listen carefully! The conversation can lead to discussing two more critical questions.

Who and why
In their preaching, both Peter and Paul addressed two vital questions about Jesus. Peter’s preaching in the Book of Acts3 always answers these two basic questions: Who was Jesus? Why did He give His life? Paul answered the same two questions when speaking to the Jews, but in the opposite order: “According to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, ‘This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.’”4 To the Corinthians, Paul wrote that his message was simply “Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”5

Being prepared to discuss these same two questions will equip a person to simply but effectively share Christ with those who have attended The Passion. They are the two most penetrating questions a person can consider.

Who was Jesus?*
In recent years, Jesus has been a prominent focus of attention in the media. Cover stories about Jesus have appeared in almost all major national news magazines. Television programs and miniseries have featured Bible characters — especially Jesus.

The Passion has been produced with great care to be true to the New Testament record. Other accounts of Christ’s life by secular media almost invariably question or even deny outright the historical reliability and accuracy of the four Gospels. Jesus is sometimes presented as just a mythical figure. At other times He is shown as a historical person, possibly as a great teacher or even a prophet — but only a man.

This article can be viewed along with other evangelism helps online at www.howtosharechrist.com. Full-color booklets of this article can be ordered from Gospel Publishing House (1-800-641-4310). Ask for product #749145.

Jesus was much more than a teacher and prophet. He was God in human form who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died for our sins and conquered death by rising again to offer us the gift of everlasting life.

If Jesus Christ was not who He claimed to be, if He is not the crucified and risen Son of God, then as the apostle Paul declared, our faith is useless. Paul wrote, “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”6

Why did He give His life?
The Jews and the Romans cannot be blamed for Jesus’ death. His life was not taken from Him. He gave it. Jesus said, “The Father loves Me because I give My life, so I can receive it again. No person takes it away from Me, but I give it because I choose to give it. I have the authority to give it, and I have the authority to take it again.”7

John the Baptist clearly announced the purpose of Jesus’ mission in coming to earth when he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”8 Jesus gave His life because each of us has sinned and is separated from God. The punishment for sin is death.9 The death the Bible is talking about is not just our body dying. It means our spirit, which lives forever, will be in everlasting punishment in hell. Jesus explained that hell is like a “lake of fire,” and that everyone who goes there is separated from God forever and burns in fire that never ends.10

But, God made a way to forgive us, save us from everlasting punishment and bring about His plan for our lives. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus was born as a man, but He lived His life without sin. Men lied about Him and judged Him guilty of things He had never done. Then they hanged Him on a cross to die. Jesus never sinned, but He was punished for sin. So death had no power over Him, and He came back to life after three days.11 Now He gives everlasting life to anyone who receives Him.

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* To nonbelievers with no Christian background, I suggest first focusing on the question "Who was Jesus?" in a historical context, speaking of Jesus incarnate in human form 2,000 years ago, before progressing to "Who is Jesus?" — the living, resurrected Christ.

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