In John 1:35-42 we see three key points that help us to see how we can avoid this dubious distinction. First, we need to point people to Jesus. John the Baptist told his disciples upon seeing Jesus, "Look, there is the Lamb of God." John was an effective link because he lived the kind of life people took note of. He wore a camel hair tunic and leather belt, ate locusts and wild honey, and lived the life of a recluse in the desert. He didn't go to people they came to him. He was also bold to call out the hypocrites telling them to produce fruit in keeping with repentance. But what is boldness? It is not something you put on like an act; it something you are or are not. Many people who have done very bold or courageous things will often say that it just came over them. So people came to John and he could have built a megachurch, but he didn't. He pointed them to Jesus. The reason John did that was because he understood his own need for Jesus. We read in Matthew 3:14, when Jesus came to be baptized by John, "John would have prevented him, saying, 'I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?'" John's baptism was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. I.e. John realized how much he needed to repent and be forgiven. If we are going to be effective connecting links we will need to understand how much we need Jesus. Secondly we need to hang out with Jesus. We read in John 1:38-39 (NLT), "Jesus looked around and saw them following. 'What do you want?' he asked them. They replied, 'Rabbi' (which means 'Teacher'), 'where are you staying?' 'Come and see,' he said. It was about four o'clock in the afternoon when they went with him to the place where he was staying, and they remained with him the rest of the day." The two disciples (Andrew + one unknown disciple) wanted to hang out with Jesus. Andrew started out recognizing that Jesus was a rabbi and by the time he left him he realized that He was the Messiah. You will not be a very good connecting link between your friend and Jesus if you are not spending time with Jesus, getting to know Him. Before Paul could become the great missionary he spent time just hanging out with Jesus in Arabia (Galatians 1:15-17). When you get to know Jesus, not just know about Him, you become an effective and authentic witness. The amazing thing is that Jesus wants to hand out with us. That's because He loves us (you don't want to hang out with people you don't love). So take time to hang out with Him.
Thirdly, bring others to Jesus. We read in John 1:40-42 (NLT), "Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, 'We have found the Messiah' (which means 'Christ'). Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus." Some people think that religion is a private matter, but Andrew didn't think that. He wanted his brother to know Jesus. That's because he loved his brother. Ros Rinker wrote the best book I ever read on witnessing called You Can Witness with Confidence. She starts off with a story from her own life. As a new missionary in China, living with a missionary nurse, she was in the house one day doing her nails, when an elderly Chinese woman knocked on the door asking if the nurse was in. She said she was out but the woman said she would wait. As Ros sat there doing her nails she would peek over at the woman now and again. Finally the nurse got home and asked the woman what she needed. The old lady told her a tragic story about her daughter leaving to go to college in a big city a year before and that she had worked hard to send her money so that she could keep studying. However, she had just discovered her daughter had not been going to college but instead was living with a lover and was giving him the money. The woman was heart broken and the nurse ministered to her need with great tenderness. The Holy Spirit gave Ros that little nudge that she had been so caught up in her own nails that she didn't have time to reach out to this woman. She writes, “Jesus’ love for people took on new meaning for me that day. He always had time. He always saw through to any heart-need. And He always was ready with a word and with a touch of love and of healing.” I have seen the same sin in me that Ros saw in herself. Sometimes I am so preoccupied with myself that I don't have time to love the people that God is sending into my life. Maybe you have discovered the same thing. Ask the Lord to give you His love for people. Then be bold enough to step out and be a connecting link.