Tuesday, April 12, 2016

We Are All Witnesses

Part 3 of Unexpected

Text: Luke 24:39-53

“You are witnesses of all these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothes with power from on high” (Luke 24:48-49). 


In 2005, Nike introduced a new marketing campaign featuring basketball superstar LeBron James and the slogan “We Are All Witnesses.” Fans were able to access an online “Witness Board” featuring shared testimony about James. Nike selected notable testimonials each day from a fan as the prize-winning “Witness of the Day.”

After his resurrection and before his ascension, Jesus told his followers, “You are witnesses of these things [i.e., his death and resurrection]” (v. 48). Though we haven’t seen these things with our own eyes, we too are to be witnesses of what God has done for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

People Like Us

The original followers of Jesus lived in a time and culture very different from ours, but they were like us in many ways. For example, they were fearful people. When the risen Jesus appeared to a group of them in Jerusalem, they were “startled and frightened” (v. 37). [1]

It was these fearful people who were to be “witnesses” (v. 48). How can fearful people share the message of the death and resurrection of Jesus? 

A Daunting Task 

The followers of Jesus were to spread the gospel “to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (v. 47). Remember what had happened in Jerusalem earlier than weekend: (1) Jesus had been arrested; (2) ten of the disciples had deserted Jesus; (3) Peter had denied knowing Jesus; (4) Jesus had been crucified. The gospel would have been a very unpopular message in Jerusalem—and a dangerous one to share! The task that Jesus gave to his followers wasn’t an easy one. And it's still not easy!

Power Supply

Jesus said to his followers, “Behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you” (v. 49). This promise was the promise of the Holy Spirit, who would indwell believers after the ascension of Jesus. To be effective and courageous witnesses, they needed the Holy Spirit’s presence: “But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (v. 49; cf. Acts 1:8).

If God wants us to be witnesses, he will give us the power to be witnesses. 

Peter probably seemed like an unlikely person to be an effective and courageous witness. He had a habit of sticking his foot in his mouth, and he denied knowing Jesus. But in Acts 2, we see that Peter had been transformed. He is proclaiming the gospel of Jesus on the streets of Jerusalem. The only explanation is that the Holy Spirit made him a changed man.

Maybe you don't think you're able to be a witness. Most of us are not theologians. But we all can simply tell our story--the story of what God has done for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

[1] The original followers of Jesus were also skeptical people. They thought that the risen Jesus was a “spirit” (v. 37), and Jesus had to prove to them that he had a real physical body: “Touch me, and see” (v. 39); “Have you anything to eat?” (v. 41).

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