Bold in Witness
What does it mean to be bold in Witness?
Jesus asked his disciples to be his witnesses. And that is what Jesus’ first disciples did.
To be a witness, you have to be willing to make a stand, to testify, to speak on behalf of the person or the event that you are bearing witness too. The aim is to provide enough reason or evidence for someone who is not a witness to ascertain the truth behind what you say.
Jesus, following his death, appeared on many occasions to his disciples and before his final appearance he said:
46 “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.48 You are witnesses of these things. (Luke 24:46-48)
It is not every day that a dead person comes back to life! For that event to have credibility there would need to be evidence and one of the best evidences is that of personal testimony and witness. The disciples, having been with Jesus for the best part of three years, had heard what he had taught, had seen what he could do, had listened as he explained Old Testament scripture, had come to understand that he was indeed the Messiah, and had been mystified when Jesus had predicted his own death and resurrection. Theoretically, they should have been able to connect the dots better than anyone.
When those predicted events – his arrest, and suffering, his death and then incredibly his resurrection – happened, and happened just as Jesus said they would, the disciples found themselves in a unique position. What they knew was no longer theoretical, it had become historical fact. And they were the witnesses.
The good news about Jesus would only be news if it was told. And the good news about Jesus would only be known to be good if it was explained. The disciples had a job to do!
The Great Commission
Matthew’s gospel finishes with what is called the great commission. Again the resurrected Jesus stands before his disciples. He says:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
Look at the instruction that Jesus gives: ‘Make disciples of all nations’. This is a command that is hard to fulfil unless the disciples go out and address those of the nations. As they testify, as they proclaim the good news about Jesus, people will come to believe and they are the ones who should be baptised and then instructed in how to live their lives. To make disciples therefore, you must go, baptise into belief, and teach what it means to be a disciple. In this commission, Jesus is instructing his disciples to go and do what he had first done with them. Just in case, that job freaked them out (after all it is rather daunting!), Jesus finishes with a wonderful assurance – as you go, then remember ‘I am with you always, to the very end of the age’.
In our secular world, we appoint. Most people when they accept a job, they accept an appointment and with that appointment comes the expectation that you will do the job for which you are hired. If you don’t, then it is entirely appropriate that your appointment is reviewed, and you shown the door!
The great commission, is like an appointment for Christians. Jesus says to his disciples, I have saved you, I have taught you, and now I have a job for you – my expectation is that you will go and do that job: make disciples of all nations. They did. We know that, because we today are the disciples from those nations!
For more in this Series:
Bold in Mission
Bold in Witness & the Great Commission
Believe and Confess
How to be Bold in Witness?
Practical Tips to be Bold in Witness
Is Every Christian Called to be an Evangelist?