I have a confession to make – and I hope you won’t judge me… but the idea of sharing my faith with someone scares me to death. It makes me nervous and uncomfortable… I’m so afraid I’ll say the wrong thing, or not be convincing or genuine enough, or not be able to answer the person’s questions… It terrifies me!
Maybe you’re not like that. Maybe sharing your faith comes naturally to you. Maybe you enjoy it. If so, you may have the spiritual gift of evangelism – and that’s awesome! We all have a mixture of strengths and weaknesses, and that is your strength!
But let me tell you: it’s my weakness. Have you ever taken one of those spiritual gift tests? The gift of evangelism is always one of my lowest scores…
But I also know it is the responsibility (and privilege!) of all followers of Jesus to share their faith with others, whether they think they are good at it or not. I am committed to growing in my confidence and ability to share my faith. And I am committed to obeying the Spirit as and when He leads me to someone with whom He wants me to share my faith. I will do it to the best of my ability… but, boy! is it hard and intimidating for me!
Stories like the one in John 9 give me great hope, though, because they encourage me that anyone can share their faith effectively without having to be an expert in Christian apologetics. (Also, John 9 contains one of my very most favorite stories in the whole Bible!)
What is the disciples’ reaction to this blind man?
- Are they concerned about him?
- Do they reach out to him or acknowledge him as a person?
- No, they use his existence as a conversation starter.
- His circumstances are just an opportunity for a theological discussion.
2 “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
Jesus is kind to his disciples. He addresses their theology to say that really the whole premise of their question in wrong. Poor life circumstances are not always the result of someone’s sin. Sometimes they are. But some life circumstances have nothing to do with sin at all – they just are. And in any case, ALL of life’s circumstances are opportunities for God to receive glory.
6 After saying this, He spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” He told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
Jesus, ever the teacher, addresses his disciples’ theological questions, and He uses the moment to teach them a little more about Himself. Then, Jesus, ever the Good Shepherd, turns to one of His beloved sheep in compassion, touches him, and transforms his life forever.
Now, has the man seen Jesus yet? No. As far as we know – at this point in the story – we have no indication that this formerly blind man has any idea what happened to him, how it happened, or who did it.
7 So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. 8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some claimed that he was. Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.” 10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked. 11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”
This one single, short encounter with Jesus is literally all this man knows about Jesus. It is a simple story. But he personally experienced it himself. And now he is standing there, before his neighbors, with his sight restored. This man is living proof that what he says happened is true!
In the next post, we will look at the power of an honest “I don’t know” in faith-sharing. We have permission to admit what we do not know or fully understand about Jesus. What we learn from the man in John 9 is not to be hindered in faith-sharing by what you don’t know, but to be empowered to share what you DO know with confidence, because it is rooted in an undeniable personal experience with Jesus!