I just joined Instagram a year ago (I know, I’m late to the social media game) and I’ve been astonished at the marketing that takes place there.
I follow my favorite authors and podcasters and it is clear that there is an art of self-promotion that people have mastered. Some people rely on selfies and personal reels to share their ideas and work, while others use quotes and beautiful photography to catch the eye. Everyone wants to know the best way to “spread the word” about their product or service.
Though Instagram might be the latest form of marketing, bringing a great idea to the masses is not.
For all of the research and techniques out there, I’m quite certain no one would be angling for the Jesus way of marketing.
In the Bible there is a story in John 4 of a woman who was a social outcast in her town. To avoid seeing her neighbors, she goes to the public well in the heat of the day to draw water. She doesn’t want to hear the snickers or see the sneers, so she hides.
But after encountering Jesus, this shame-laden, heavy-hearted woman leaves her water jar to go tell the town to come and see the Messiah. She can’t help but proclaim the good news of Jesus.
It makes me wonder…
What would the people of the town think about this woman running around talking about the Living Water she had just encountered? Would they even believe her? How would the people of the town react to this woman trying to convince them that Jesus of Nazareth is the real deal?
If I was Jesus, I would’ve chosen someone well-liked to tell the town about me, someone well-respected whose words were trustworthy and good.
Instead Jesus singles out the one person the people are most likely to reject, the one whose word would not count for anything. She is the one to proclaim the good news.
And it turns out this is Jesus’ modus operandi!
In Mark 5, Jesus crosses the sea to heal a man who was possessed by demons. This man is so scarred, so crazed, so violent that the people of the town chain him in a cave far from them. He is a physical outcast, sent away because his brokenness is too much for society to bear.
After Jesus heals him, the man begs to stay with Jesus. After that kind of transformational healing I’d want to be with Jesus too!! But Jesus does not let him: “And He did not permit him but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled. Mark 5:19-20 (ESV)
Once again, Jesus chooses someone the world had shunned to deliver His message of mercy.
A man previously not trusted to be around anyone is now a shining testimony of Jesus’ healing and restoration.
The gospels are filled with many more stories about people who are dismissed, discredited and looked down upon by society experiencing–and proclaiming–the healing and redemption Jesus brings. These become the first missionaries. The emissaries of God’s plan for salvation are the ones who have been rejected and unloved.
From our human perspective, we might accuse Jesus of poor marketing. But, by the grace that fills the Kingdom of God, it is the least of these who have transformed the world.
We are God’s plan to spread the Good News. Not the rich, the powerful, the eloquent, the put-together. All along Jesus intended for redemption to come through brokenness. The cross exemplifies this. Who would imagine that freedom, hope, life would come through torture and death?
But God, in His beautiful, upside-down kingdom reverses everything we might expect Him to do. His ways are not ours. His plans are not ours. They are so much better.
If you are like me you might wonder how your parenting mistakes; your lackluster interactions with friends, neighbors, and co-workers; or your meager acts of service could add up to a world changed by Jesus. You might wonder if your bumbling words or awkward questions point anyone to our Savior.
But in those moments where you begin to doubt, close your eyes and imagine Jesus’ first missionaries. Picture the woman at the well trying desperately to hide from the judgment of others. Picture the demon-possessed man covered in the literal scars of his shattered past. Then breathe in the goodness of a God who uses the “least of these” to transform a broken world. You are His plan for this world, in all of your imperfections and short-comings.
You are valued, loved, enough, and never alone.
This is the beautiful life we have in the Kingdom of God. This is the Good News.
~Katie Sue Garcia
Katie is a wife of almost 20 years and a mother of three. She loves to write about the ways the Lord speaks to her through His word. After losing a child 14 years ago, she found the heart of her writing in the beauty of lament, and the hope of God meeting her in her sorrow through His promises. You can be encouraged by more of Katie’s writing when you subscribe to Unveiled and FREE Devotions.