1917: Reflections on Evangelism

In the epic World War I movie “1917” (2019), two soldiers are tasked with sending a message to another battalion to stop them from attacking the Germans. Why? Based on army intelligence, it was a trap and the British soldiers would be massacred. There lies the tension – Would the two young soldiers survive the dangerous journey across the war field? And even if they did survive, would they reach in time to inform their comrades? It’s a nail-biting movie and I won’t give any spoilers!

But it hit me that the theme of “1917” relates directly to evangelism. Evangelism is telling others about Jesus and turning them away from death and destruction. See the connection with the movie? All of us as Christians are given the mandate in the Great Commission (Matt 28) to tell others about Jesus and to turn them from their sins before it’s too late.

The first element is danger. Just like the two soldiers who braved perils along the way, we too must brave dangers. Some may be in the form of ridicule, rejection and for missionaries, even death. Are we willing to bring this message of hope to dying people? God gives Ezekiel a responsibility to be a watchman to warn people to turn from their sins:

Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself.

Ezekiel 33:7-9 (NLT)

The second element is time. In “1917” the message had to be delivered by dawn the next day. There wasn’t time for chit-chat or giving up. Time was of the essence. If they were too slow, people would die. Similarly, people need to hear about Jesus before they end this life. Now ever more so in this Covid-19 situation where life is so unpredictable. But nothing can stop us from telling others about Jesus whether in person or through technology (Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, blogs). The time is now. As Paul says:

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.

Colossians 4:5-6 (NLT)

Will you brave the dangers to tell others about Jesus?

Will you sense the urgency and grab every chance to tell others about Jesus?

If two soldiers would risk their lives to save people from physical death, would we risk all to save people from eternal death?

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