Hear Ye

Forgive me for being late to the party, but the royal birth coincided with my vacation and so my commentary is a little delayed. Yes, I know that the fascination with the Prince of Cambridge is nonsensical, but who am I to buck a fad? Much has been said about the worth of this child and children in general, so I will aim my attention elsewhere. I want to consider the Town Crier of London. The birth of George was announced in many ways, but none was more colorful than the proclamation below.

Town Criers are historic officers of the court that make public announcements of grave importance. In an illiterate era they were the original form of ‘breaking news’. Mass communication has eclipsed their role, but ancient cities like London have continued the tradition. Ringing their bell and shouting out “Oyez” they seized people’s attention so that their announcement would be heard. This particular announcement was good news to those who heard.

What I like about this video is that it provides us with a wonderful pattern for evangelism. No, I don’t recommend the bell or the elaborate outfit—although they certainly would add color to the occasion! It’s the confidence of the man that inspires me. He speaks with authority because he is a herald of the throne and his words are certified by the royal seal. His obligation is to repeat the news accurately and there it ends; in no way is he responsible for the people’s reaction. They may welcome the news (as they did on this occasion) or they may grumble sourly, but that is not the crier’s concern. His sole task is to faithfully repeat the words of his monarch, and from that point on it’s a matter between the queen and her subjects.

As Christians we are to be heralds of the good news, proclaiming that a royal child was born to save many from sin. He is destined to reign and rule over all of us and we can welcome his lordship if we repent of our sin and trust him for salvation. Our message is sealed with Jesus’ blood and we should speak it with authority.

Too many Christians are intimidated by this calling because they assume too much responsibility. Feeling like they must convert others, many believers wilt under the pressure and stay silent. But evangelism does not make us responsible for people’s choices. How they respond to the gospel is between them and God. What we are responsible for is a clear pronouncement of what Christ has done for us.

We are to trust the Spirit with their hearts, let us content ourselves with their ears.

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