It can be daunting, if not overwhelming and anxiety inducing, to consider talking to someone about Jesus. If even the thought taunts us, the very act becomes unimaginable. It’s uncomfortable to talk about Jesus. Most of the time, people just don’t feel like they know what to say. So rather than pipe up, we easily suppress the thoughts.
The Gospels demonstrate a simple way to share our faith, and a way that doesn’t overlook the discomfort we may feel in doing so. In the gospel of Mark, Jesus has an encounter with a man possessed by a legion of demons (pause here and give Mark 5:1-20 a read). This is a dark, foreign and intense scene to us. But surely it was the same for the disciples. Nobody is naturally in their element in a situation like this, except for Jesus. I want to highlight a few things we can learn from this passage in Mark about sharing our faith.
1. Sharing our faith takes us out of our comfort zone and involves risk.
The encounter with the man possessed by a legion of demons takes place in the country of the Gerasenes. In other words, Gentile territory. The disciples are immediately taken out of their comfort zone. On the shore, they also encounter a herd of pigs (an animal that no Kosher Jew would want to be near). Jesus takes them completely out of their element, and then they find themselves in a situation with a man so powerfully possessed by demons that he has supernatural strength. He can break chains and shackles apart; what could he do to them?!
Jesus intentionally brings the disciples into this uncomfortable, risky situation to show them just how powerful the Gospel really is. It’s not in the safe, comfortable places that we get to encounter the power of the Gospel. It’s in the uncomfortable, risky areas of life that we would rather not talk about that we find the Gospel’s true strength.
2. Sharing our faith means not discriminating.
Mark is very descriptive about the demon possessed man. He is utterly hopeless, no one could help him. The community began to treat him like an animal rather than a person. This is the sort of person that I imagine the disciples would never think to try to share the Gospel with. But Jesus sees this man, and he knows the power of the Gospel. We must make sure that in sharing our faith, we curb our tendency to only speak to those we assume will receive the Gospel. Sharing about Jesus is not about our assumptions, it’s about his power.
3. Sharing our faith means confronting the dehumanizing aspects of the world.
The power of evil in this encounter totally robbed this man of his life, his family, his community. Evil robbed him of his humanity. He was utterly dehumanized. While we may not encounter evil in this exact form on a regular basis, we do encounter many systems that dehumanize people. We encounter exhaustion from overwork, dissatisfaction from overindulgence, broken hearts from unfulfilled dreams and misplaced desires, and rampant entitlement (just to name a few things). When we share our faith, we are sharing something incredibly powerful — we are sharing a way to be rehumanized.