Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.
Luke 24:36b-48 (NRSV)
Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.
Luke’s presentation of the Lord’s Great Commission, found here in chapter 24 and augmented in Acts 1:8, is not exactly like the more familiar version in Matthew 28. There the emphasis is on making disciples of all nations, teaching the commands of Christ, and baptizing. (See Matthew 28:19-20.) Luke stresses proclaiming forgiveness of sins to all nations through Christ as witnesses empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of John puts it even more succinctly. The risen Christ appears to the disciples and says, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21). Then he breathed the Holy Spirit upon them. The accounts are unique, but they affirm the same thing: followers of Jesus are, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to tell the good news as his witnesses.
We are witnesses, not so much in terms of what we have seen, but of what we have experienced as believers. Our relationship with Christ is founded in scripture, and deepened by the testimony of Christian friends and the church. But ultimately we are able to share our faith with others because Christ lives in us, and we in him. No one has exactly the same experience with Christ we have. It is personal, but it is not private. That is our witness. It is what we have to share.
Lord, lead me to opportunities to be your witness today. Amen.
Go with God.