Scriptural Gem for February 2013

In Acts 1:8 we read: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

Just before in Acts 1:4 Jesus says to his disciples: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised which you have heard me speak about."  It is interesting that after three years of teaching his disciples, Jesus does not say: "Now men, I have taught you well for three whole years - you are now ready to go and be my witnesses..."

Instead they are instructed to wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon them which will enable them to be His witnesses. It was not knowledge that qualified them as witnesses but the Spirit of God in them.

When we look at the Greek word for 'Witness' we can see why that is so important. The word is 'Martyreo' or in English - 'Martyr'. This is profound. In English we think that a Christian witness is simply someone who speaks to others about God. However, the real meaning is that of a person who is willing to die rather than renounce their faith and who speaks boldly in the face of persecution.

This is not humanly possible. Peter is a good example for us - Before Jesus' arrest he boldly proclaims "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will!" and yet soon after, he disowns Jesus three times. However, after Pentecost we see a completely changed Peter - boldly preaching Christ in the face of persecution and being eventually crucified...

How about your witness dear friend? Is it based on knowledge about God or is it the very Spirit of God Himself testifying in and through you to others?

God, forgive us for thinking that we can just be your witnesses. Fill us so that we can be genuine witnesses. Amen.