You Will Be My Witnesses

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?”He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:6-8)

Imagine the disciples’ anticipation of finally getting some answers when they spent time with the risen Christ. But they had little satisfaction when they asked their question, “Is this the time…?” Jesus’ answer was, quite simply, “I don’t know” or if he did know then, “I can’t tell you.” What a bummer. Resurrection did not provide an end to the ambiguity of life – there are still things we just have to live into as they come.

So what do resurrection people do in the meantime?

According to Jesus, the answer is that we are to bear witness to Jesus everywhere we go – close to home or far away. Tell people about knowing the risen Christ and all that he did, does and will do.

As followers of Jesus, the task of bringing good news to people starts with a very simple premise. We’ve been claimed by Jesus and live with him fully present in all that we do. Being known by Christ and knowing Christ makes us capable of sharing what we know with others. That’s our job – sharing Christ with others. We don’t convert them. We don’t put pressure on them. We don’t decide who will believe when and who won’t. We just share Jesus and let the Holy Spirit do her work.

But the Holy Spirit works with words and faith comes by hearing, so the words we share as we witness are the stuff with which the Holy Spirit works. Say nothing and the Spirit has nothing to work with. Say something and now the Spirit can stir the pot and cultivate curiosity, wonder, engagement and faith.

So, as you go, bear witness to Jesus. Don’t try to argue people into believing. Just tell them (graciously but often) who Jesus is for you and what God has done for the world in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s what Jesus wants his disciples to be up to. And it’s the stuff that makes faith contagious. 

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