But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NASB)
We saw yesterday, through the story of the "Good Samaritan," the answer Jesus gave to the question, "Who is my neighbor?" In essence, we are told that our neighbor is the one who "needs" us to be a neighbor to them no matter who they are. Being a neighbor to those who need a neighbor is what God's mission is all about. When we relate to others with a compassion and love that comes out of the compassion and love we are experiencing from God, we become channels through which God brings his redemptive love and provision to a battered and hurting world.
It is crucial that we become convinced that we cannot bring to the world the love and compassion it needs to receive from us if we are not receiving and experiencing it ourselves in our relationship with God. In today's passage Jesus says, "You shall be My witnesses." A witness in a court of law is able to be a witness there only because they were a witness beforehand to whatever happened to necessitate the trial. Because we are witnesses of Christ (we are ones who behold the reality of who he is and the redemption he has accomplished), we shall be witnesses of Christ before a waiting and watching world.
The impact that beholding Christ (on an ongoing basis) has on our lives is seen by the world (we witness by showing) and leads to opportunities to proclaim the gospel to the world (we witness by telling). But again it is only because we are witnesses (beholding Christ) that we are able to show and proclaim Christ to the world (you shall be my witnesses). There is nothing said here about "witnessing." We are Christ's witnesses. It bears repeating that when we relate to others with a compassion and love that comes out of the compassion and love we are experiencing from God, we become channels through which God brings his redemptive love and provision to a battered and hurting world. This is what it means to be a neighbor and this is what God's mission is all about.
Lord, I understand that the more I know and experience you, the more you will transform my life and the more my life will impact my world. Fill me with your Spirit and give me a love and compassion for others that translates into them seeing the reality of your presence in my life and hearing from me how they can embrace you for themselves as well. Amen!
Posted on Fri, November 13, 2015
by Alan Porter