In Mark’s gospel, chapter 5, we read how Jesus miraculously restored a man tormented by demons. You might remember the story. It’s the one where 2000 pigs end up dead at the bottom of a cliff.
The man himself, now restored, just wants to be with Jesus his saviour. He wants to follow Jesus for the rest of his life, and he’s ready to hop into the boat with Jesus. But Jesus doesn’t let him. Instead, Jesus says to him, ‘“Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.’ (Mark 5:19–20 ESV)
Now restored, this man becomes a powerful witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. But he doesn’t go out with a carefully rehearsed sermon, or with his six Two Ways To Live drawings. The way he takes the gospel to his friends and family is simply by telling them his own story, and the impact that Jesus has had on him personally.
Sharing the gospel can sometimes be daunting. Sometimes we can worry that we won’t have the message quite right, or we’ll worry that we won’t be able to answer questions and objections. But there is one foolproof gospel presentation that every Christian has, and that’s the story of how much Jesus has done for them. And there’s only one person who can tell that story properly: the person who has experienced it for themselves. And it’s very hard to tell someone that their own story is not true or irrelevant.
In Sam Chan’s book, Evangelism In A Skeptical World, he points out the value of personal testimony in sharing the gospel: ‘Our personal story is proclaiming the truth of the gospel, in a practical, concrete, lived out way.’ (p.59)
Every Christian has a great story of what Jesus has done for them, how he has exposed their sin and need of a saviour, how he has forgiven them before God and given them new life, and how he has secured their eternity in heaven. And it is a powerful way to share the real, good news of the gospel.
Live it: What’s your story of coming to faith in Jesus? You may need to practice it, or fine-tune it to hit the major markers of the gospel message (like sin, redemption, eternal life, etc.) How could you use your story to tell someone you know about Jesus?