The Power of a Gospel Conversation

The power of the Gospel to work through the gentle witness of the unknown or little known individual has been repeatedly demonstrated throughout history.  The story of Justin Martyr’s conversion is one such example of that truth.

As a young man, Justin sought for the truth, sampling the various philosophies of his day: Stoic, Peripatetic, Pythogorean, and Platonic.

In a solitary walk not far from the sea-shore, a venerable old Christian of pleasant countenance and gentle dignity, entered into a conversation with him, which changed the course of his life. The unknown friend shook his confidence in all human wisdom, and pointed him to the writings of the Hebrew prophets who were older than the philosophers and had seen and spoken the truth, not as reasoners, but as witnesses. More than this: they had foretold the coming of Christ, and their prophecies were fulfilled in his life and work. The old man departed, and Justin saw him no more, but he took his advice and soon found in the prophets of the Old Testament as illuminated and confirmed by the Gospels, the true and infallible philosophy which rests upon the firm ground of revelation. Thus the enthusiastic Platonist became a believing Christian.

Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 2, 713

Interestingly, this man likely never knew the outcome of his witness, nor the ultimate impact Justin would have as a Christian apologist and martyr. He was merely faithful in speaking about Christ graciously and gently through a common conversation.

Even when we do not see results let’s not underestimate the potential of our simple, yet sincere witness to the Gospel of Jesus.