Not many of us are good evangelists. Most of us are frightened at the prospect of having to ‘defend the faith’, and frankly terrified at the thought of ‘leading someone to Jesus’. Some of us have had bad experiences – others are keen to avoid that being the case!
The good news of today’s passage is that we don’t have to be Billy Grahams or J Johns. We just need to tell our story. The man in today’s passage has known Jesus probably for about an hour. That’s it. He has been excluded from all polite society for many years, so probably knows very little about religious belief or practice. And he’s just found a real spiritual friend for the first time in his adult life – and this friend is immediately being forced to leave by rest of the population.
In other words, he apparently has very little to offer the kingdom of God. Not surprisingly, he’s desperate to travel away from this place with Jesus. But Jesus says no – not because he’s unfriendly, but because he knows that this man has something very precious: his story. His story is enough. God has done something wonderful for him, and the best way for him to practise his new-found faith is simply to tell his story with the people that know him. After all, the change will be obvious!
This is great news for us, too. We all have a story of faith. Perhaps not as dramatic – but every bit as real, because it’s ours, and we’ve lived it. Take a few moments today just turning over some key moments in your story: times when God has been there, answered a prayer, changed something in your life, brought you a friend when you needed it, given you a task which you undertook for his glory – and more besides.
That is your story. No-one can argue with it, because it’s yours. And if you can sometimes share that with someone, that’s great! It’s all Jesus asked of the man in the passage. It’s all Jesus asks of you.