Have you ever seen a courtroom when a trial is in session? Maybe you were selected for jury duty or watched a tv show or movie that had a trial. In any case, you would likely have seen a courtroom filled with people, a defendant was on trial, and witnesses being called to the stand. As they gave their testimony, the jury, judge, and court attendees listened carefully to determine the guilt or innocence of the defendant. Their attention demonstrates the important role a witness plays.
Witnesses are summonsed because they have seen something or heard something pertinent to a court case. They are required to give an accurate account of the information they have. Similarly, Christians are called to act as witnesses every day. We are commanded by God to represent Him to others, being witnesses of God’s goodness and glory. Today, I want to examine our daily witness and how it connects with the witness stand in a court of law.
Jesus’ Call to Witness
Every day we stand as witnesses, either for or against the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 1:8 says, “But you shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and Judaea and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
I want to focus on the second part of the verse that says, “You shall be witnesses unto me.” Luke, the author of Acts, is quoting Jesus’ words shortly before He was received up into heaven. Jesus was instructing his disciples on how they would function on the earth now that He was leaving. They were going to be witnesses everywhere they went, Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and the uttermost part of the earth. What did that mean? They would testify of what they had seen and heard, relaying what they knew to be true about Jesus Christ and His offer of salvation.
In a court of law, witnesses must take an oath, swearing to tell the whole truth, nothing but the truth. In our lives as believers, it may not seem so rigorous as a court of law, but the requirement for truth is just as paramount. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your goods works and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” in Matthew 5:16. The people around us are watching our lives. They are expecting to see what a Christian looks like. We are the living witness of our Father in heaven, so it is important to ask: when they see us, do they see Him, or are they witnessing someone or something else?
The Christian Witness
To give you a look into the power of listening to God and acting as his witness, let me retell a true story I heard a while ago.
A young minister was awakened around 3 am and instructed to get up and ride his bike down a particular street in his city, yelling, “Jesus loves you! Jesus loves you.” After some deliberation, he opted to obey. Returning home sometime later, he hadn’t seen anyone; nothing unusual happened, so assuming the instruction came to see if he’d obey, he returned to bed and slept. Several years passed, and he was in a conference where a minister, many years his junior, was preaching. The young minister stopped and began telling the story of his conversion to Christ. The older minister was stunned by the familiarity of the story. “I was standing beneath a lamp post in a certain city,” the young minister said. “I had a loaded revolver in my hand and was preparing to take my life. I prayed and said, “God, if you’re real, let me know you’re there.” No sooner than I prayed that,” he said, “some crazy man comes riding down the street at 3 am yelling, “Jesus loves you! Jesus loves you!” I fell on my knees, repented, and gave my heart and life to God.”
Though I don’t recall who the minister was or whom I heard tell it, the story deeply moved me. Even though it seemed foolish and like a waste of time and energy, the minister was obedient to God’s call, and God used him to save a man’s life and soul.
A Testifying Word
We are called to be witnesses unto Christ. We are encouraged to search the Scriptures and know what they say. Jesus said, “Search the Scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). The Scriptures are what testifies, bears record, gives evidence to, and bears witness of Jesus. If we are to be witnesses for Him, should we not strengthen our testimony by knowing the scriptures that bear record of Him?
The apostle Paul teaches us in Titus 3:14 that learning to maintain good works is necessary to detour unfruitfulness. While good works do not secure our salvation, acting in accordance with God’s commands is a huge part of our testimony. Our actions are connected to the testimony we speak; this affirms the known saying, “actions speak louder than words.”
We are standing daily in the courtroom of life on the witness stand. We have been summoned to give testimony of the reason for the hope that is in us according to 1 Peter 3:15. The Greek word used for reason in this passage is defined in the Blue Letter Bible, “something said, including thought, a topic or subject of discourse, communication.” So it does matter what we say, how, and when we say it.
May I encourage you today? We are Jesus’ witnesses. We are His representatives. If the world is to see a witness for Jesus, they will see it in us. So let’s arrive at the stand with a strong witness testimony of a godly life well lived.
All Scripture is taken for the King James Version unless otherwise indicated.