Posted by: Heather | April 28, 2010

Witnesses for Christ

Acts 1:8   But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:  and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.

Jesus had been crucified and buried.  Imagine the extreme sadness of His disciples.  They thought that Jesus intended to set up His kingdom on earth, but all hope of that seemed gone after His crucifixion.  That was a sign the Jews looked for in their Messiah.  They had been under Roman occupation for some time, and were waiting for their Messiah to come and deliver them.  They didn’t realize at the time that Jesus didn’t come to set up a kingdom on earth at that time, but a heavenly kingdom.

Then, He resurrected!  The disciples once again had hope that Jesus had come to rescue them from their oppressors by setting up His kingdom (Acts 1:6).

Jesus had walked on earth for approximately 40 days following His resurrection.  He instructed His disciples to return to Jerusalem (Luke 24:49), where they would receive the promise of the Father,  a comforter that would come to be with them after He ascended back to heaven.

Jesus went with them as far as Bethany, and He was taken up into heaven before their eyes.   With great rejoicing, they headed back to Jerusalem to stay there until their promise arrived.

Two things were promised them with the arrival of the Holy Ghost.  The first is that they would receive power.  The second is that they would be witnesses for Christ.  There are several words in the Bible that speak of power.  The power Jesus was speaking of here is the Greek word ‘dynamis’.  This is the word our English word ‘dynamite’ came from.  The definition fitting this verse is ‘the power of Christ invisibly present and operative in a Christian church formally assembled’.  They would receive a gift that would allow the power of Jesus Christ Himself to operate through them.

The result of that power would be that they would become witnesses for Christ.  In our Western mindset, we see this word as simply ‘witnesses’, which means ‘to be a witness for one, and serve him by testimony’. It does mean that, but the Greek word for witnesses is a bit more telling.  The word is ‘martys’, which is the word we get our English ‘martyr’ from.  Each of the disciples would actually die a martyr’s death.  Many say John didn’t, since he was on the aisle of Patmos.  However, they tried many times to kill him, and I would consider him a martyr for all that he went through.

As Americans, we are very far removed from the persecution many followers of Jesus face every day.  Many across the world are still martyred for the cause of Christ.   But, even if we never die a violent death like so many have, this meaning still applies to us.  We must crucify our flesh daily (Galatians 5:24).   As servants of God,  we should desire sin in our lives to die a violent death.  Our lifestyle should be that of a martyr for Christ in word and deed.  But, in our society of ease and comfort, we often find it hard to remember that we are to be martyrs.  In other words, we should give Him everything…our entire lives…even our physical bodies if that is required of us to remain true to Him.

In biblical times, when one came to Christ, they didn’t fit God into their schedules.  God became their schedule, and they fit everything else around Him.  Is that the kind of life we live, or does He just get the leftovers after we’ve taken care of everything else we deem important?

By the power of the Holy Spirit (Christ working through us), we are well-equipped to face anything that comes our way.  Let us proclaim that as witnesses for Christ, we will die daily to our flesh as Paul wrote (1 Cor. 15:31), and allow Him to control our lives.  In doing so, we may be used mightily for His kingdom…His heavenly kingdom!!

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Responses

  1. Heather ,

    Thank you for an excellent message . It certainly went much deeper than the concept of the Tongues as a visible evidence of receiving the Holy Ghost . Many people need to take a look at what is really being taught in Scripture . If a person truly has the Holy Ghost , it will be evident in the way they serve the Lord .

    • Bill, thanks so much! I’m glad it blessed you. This is one of my goals in doing these blogs…to get to the underlying meaning of some scriptures that may not be so easily seen just by reading. This is the kind of studying I really enjoy. God bless you!!


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