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.
Traditional views of evangelism are often intimidating and push the limits of personal comfort, leaving the job of reaching out to new and searching Christians for the professionals – the clergy of the church. Knight and Powe show how this basic misunderstanding is contrary to John Wesley’s view of evangelism, which he understood as a complete circle. Once one has been evangelized to and welcomed into the faith, part of the transformation of their lives includes Christ’s teaching, which is to help others to become welcomed in the faith.
The key to Wesley’s way of sharing the faith is to relate to others in love, compassion and gratitude for God’s divine grace. Knight and Powe’s explanation of evangelism is steeped in the Wesleyan tradition, exposing how God’s love and grace comes to each of us as we once received it, through the gift of proclamation. A true transformative act of evangelism is R.E.L.A.T.I.O.N.A.L.: Renewal; Enter; Listening; Acceptance; Testimony; Inviting; On-Going; New Beings; Assurance; Live-It. As Christians, we are not to keep the gift we receive through evangelism; we are to live out what we learn in community and study, by inviting others into this grace. Knight and Powe express that evangelism should not be viewed as an ugly word or act that most fear to live out, but as a way for one friend in Christ to welcome another friend in Christ to the faith.