what witnesses do

June 2015 (3)Isaiah 43:8-13

8 Bring out the people who are blind, even though they have eyes, those who are deaf, even though they have ears! 9 All nations gather together, the peoples assemble. Who among them announced this? Who predicted earlier happenings for us? Let them produce their witnesses to testify they were right; let them listen and verify, ‘It’s true.’ 10 You are my witnesses,” says Yahveh, “my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may consider and believe in me, and understand that I am he. No god was formed before me, and none will outlive me. 11 I, I am Yahveh, and there is no deliverer besides me. 12 I decreed and delivered and proclaimed, and there was no other god among you. You are my witnesses,” says Yahveh, ” that I am God. 13 From this day forward I am he; no one can deliver from my power; I will act, and who can prevent it?”

what witnesses do

Jesus told his disciples that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost, and that – as a result – they would be his witnesses to the whole planet.[1] But, what does a witness do? Isaiah had already given us the context we need to understand Jesus’ statement. God promised to do something spectacular, and that his people would be present to attest that God had promised it, and that it happened just as he promised. That is what witnesses do as it respects a promise of deliverance. So, the apostles (and those of us who follow after them) have the role of authenticating witness to what God did through Christ. The atoning work on the cross, and the promise of our coming resurrection as seen in Christ’s resurrection – that is what we are witnesses of. The Holy Spirit’s task was not to upstage Christ’s death and resurrection, but to empower us to proclaim it. As Yahveh put it “You are my witnesses … that I am God.” The role of a witness is to affirm something that someone else did.

Lots of Christians today are weighed down with guilt because they do not see powerful evidence of the Holy Spirit’s miracles in their lives. They feel that they have let God down, and that they are somehow to blame for their powerlessness. But God has not commanded them to raise the dead. God has not commanded them to walk on water. The only thing that God wants them (us) to do is tell the world what he has done in Christ. That is what Christian witnesses do.

LORD, forgive us for getting off track, and expecting more of ourselves than what you have commanded us. Show us how to declare what you have done to this blind and deaf world you want to reach.


[1] Acts 1:8.

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About Jefferson Vann

Jeff is a Christian missionary.
This entry was posted in evangelism, gospel, spiritual gifts, witness and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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