Jesus frees a demon-possessed man
26 Jesus and his disciples sailed to the Gerasenes’ land, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 As soon as Jesus got out of the boat, a certain man met him. The man was from the city and was possessed by demons. For a long time, he had lived among the tombs, naked and homeless. 28 When he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down before him. Then he shouted, “ What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me! ” 29 He said this because Jesus had already commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had taken possession of him, so he would be bound with leg irons and chains and placed under guard. But he would break his restraints, and the demon would force him into the wilderness.
30 Jesus asked him, “ What is your name? ”
“ Legion, ” he replied, because many demons had entered him. 31 They pleaded with him not to order them to go back into the abyss.t32 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs. Jesus gave them permission, 33 and the demons left the man and entered the pigs. The herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned.
34 When those who tended the pigs saw what happened, they ran away and told the story in the city and in the countryside. 35 People came to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone. He was sitting at Jesus’ feet, fully dressed and completely sane. They were filled with awe. 36 Those people who had actually seen what had happened told them how the demon-possessed man had been delivered. 37 Then everyone gathered from the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave their area because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and returned across the lake. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone begged to come along with Jesus as one of his disciples. Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “ Return home and tell the story of what God has done for you. ” So he went throughout the city proclaiming what Jesus had done for him.
Those who serve on mission fields in areas where Christian faith is not the dominant religion quickly come to understand a central truth: when one is sharing the gospel, one must have a place to start the conversation. If the person being addressed is unfamiliar with Christian concepts and terms, one must pick up on things with which he or she is familiar and relate these to the Christian message. Without this middle ground, there can be no effective witness to God’s salvation in Christ. Everyone who shares the good news today, Robert Tuttle points out, would do well to learn this basic truth for communicating the gospel. While the Christian message is universal—intended for all persons, everywhere—the language we use to convey this message may not be. The key is always to be sensitive to the deep questions with which one’s friends and acquaintances are struggling, and to look for ways to relate the life-changing message of the gospel to these questions.
The lively and direct writing style offers a clear, user-friendly guide to sharing one's personal faith. Illustrations and examples are drawn from the contexts of both North America and outside of North America. The material is focused on the crucial and difficult task of communication the gospel to persons who have not grown up with the language and symbolism of the church. Readers will understand that in an effort to communicate the gospel to persons unfamiliar with its terminology and concepts, they must first learn to identify a common middle ground from which to begin. They will learn the basic tools for communicating the gospel, including how to relate the life-changing message of the gospel to the deep questions people ask.