Acts 2:32-39 (KJV)
32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
Come And See a Man
One day Jesus sat by a well on the edge of a Samaritan town. As he sat there a woman came to draw water, and Jesus began a conversation with her. The woman had lived a difficult life. She had many lovers and many rejections. She became an outcast in her community and lived a life with little hope that things would ever get better for her. But then she met Jesus.
The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?John 4:28-29
In a moments time, Jesus made a great difference in her life. He offered her forgiveness for her sins, life eternal, and a living water that would satisfy the longings of her heart forever. The story might sound too good to be true, but that is the same thing Jesus offers to anyone who believes on him. Forgiveness, redemption, and life eternal in the world to come.
The woman was amazed by her conversation with Jesus and the things he told her. She recognized him for who he was, her Messiah. The one who had come to save her. She was so amazed that she dropped her water pot and ran back into the city crying, “Come and see a man who told me all I ever did.”
The woman at the well demonstrated something that is a pattern in the life of many Christians. When Jesus save us, when he turns our life around, when he does a life changing work in our lives, we cannot help but proclaim to those around us the wonderful things of Christ. Our own personal testimonies of what Jesus has done for us make us a witness of Christ.
What is a Witness?
A witness is someone who has participated in something. They were present when something happened, and they can relate an account of what they saw, heard, and experienced. So before we can witness Jesus to others, we first have to experience Jesus in our own lives. Like the woman at the well, we must first know Jesus as our savior. We have to experience his saving power in our own lives.
When we know Jesus and his saving power, and experience his life changing power, and know the depth of God’s love and grace, then we have a testimony we can share with the world. Every witness of Jesus in the bible based their testimony on their own personal experience with Jesus.
When Jesus was arrested and taken to be executed, his disciples scattered and went into hiding. They were overtaken by fear, despair, and even cowardice. But after Jesus rose from the grave, the experience had a life changing impact on them. They went from cowardice to courage. Their lives changed in a dramatic fashion, and they were able to proclaim Jesus Christ as Savior and Messiah before the same crowd they had ran and hid from only days earlier. (Acts 2)
Circumcised on the eighth day of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless. But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.Philippians 3:5-7 NIV
The Apostle Paul similarly related the circumstances of his conversion and the change he experienced in his life as a witness of Christ. Paul was renewed in his mind. Instead of trusting in his own works to earn salvation, he accepted that Jesus Christ had already done the work to save him, and Paul came to understand that salvation was freely available to him through faith Christ. (Philippians 3)
Whether we witness like Paul, Peter, or the woman at the well, every follower of Christ has a job to play in sharing the gospel with others. After the woman at the well departed to go tell her entire community about Jesus, Jesus encouraged his disciples to follow her example and to share the gospel of salvation with the world. Jesus said, “the harvest is great, but the laborers are few.” He encouraged his disciples to pray that more laborers would enter the field to share the good news of Jesus with the lost.
A Risen Savior
Throughout the New Testament, the resurrection of Jesus from the grave was a key miracle and evidence that the apostles pointed to when witnessing the gospel to unbelievers. There were hundreds of living witnesses who saw the resurrected Jesus. The fact that Jesus resurrected from the grave formed an important basis for explaining Christ’s power and the authenticity of the gospel he had taught.
We can share the same story today, the evidence of the resurrection of Jesus is still strong and powerful. The New Testament was written by at least eight different men, each who were witnesses of Jesus after his resurrection. Besides the bible, there are at least eight non-Christian writers who lived in the first century who wrote about Jesus, the first generation of Christians, and the existence of professed eyewitnesses of his resurrection.
Besides the strong evidence of the resurrection of Jesus, we have our own personal experience which we can draw on as a witness of Jesus.
You Are The Light of the World
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.Matthew 5:16
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.John 13:35
Jesus told his disciples that they are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:13) He went on to explain to his disciples how their light would shine to other men. It is when “they see your good works”, that they are seeing your light. It is not just the words we say, but it is the life we live before others that shows what Jesus has done for us.
Jesus explained that others would recognize us as his disciples by the love we show to one another. (John 13:35) A vibrant Christian who shows the love of God to those around them are walking in the footprints of Jesus and they are the greatest witnesses of Christ to the world.
Jesus said, “whosoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (Luke 6:47) This enables us to welcome and invite anyone to come to Christ. We can tell people about the same living water that Jesus offered to the woman at the well. Jesus has offered whosever will something that will change their lives forever. Something that will satisfy our every longing and desire, something that will redeem us from all our sins and all our shortcomings, and something that will last for eternity. It is a spring of water that will never run dry.
We can trust on Jesus. One day he is coming for us to take us to be with him. We know it is true, and we know he has the power. He proved it when he resurrected from the grave, showing he had power over death. And the same ones who witnessed his resurrection, also witnessed him ascend into heaven, and heard the promise given that he was going to return. (Acts 1:11)
Applying the Lesson
Do you want to witness the gospel of salvation to others? Start by knowing Jesus as your own savior. Show the light by living a life full of good works and love for others. When opportunities present themselves, share the good news of the gospel with those around you. Jesus has come to deliver us from a fallen world, from our hurts, from our failings, from our burdens, and from our sins. Forgiveness, blessings, and life eternal are freely given to those who believe on him.
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.Acts 2:37-38
Need of Jesus: A Prayer of the Puritans
I am blind, be thou my light,
ignorant, be thou my wisdom,
self-willed, be thou my mind.
Open my ear to grasp quickly thy Spirit’s voice,
and delightfully run after his beckoning hand;
Melt my conscience that no hardness remain,
make it alive to evil’s slightest touch;
When Satan approaches may I flee to thy wounds,
and there cease to tremble at all alarm.
Be my good shepherd to lead me into
the green pastures of thy Word,
and cause me to lie down beside the rivers of its comforts.
Fill me with peace, that no disquieting worldly gales
may ruffle the calm surface of my soul.
Thy cross was upraised to be my refuge,
Thy blood streamed forth to wash me clean,
Thy death occurred to give me a surety,
Thy name is my property to save me,
By thee all heaven is poured into my heart,
but it is all too narrow to comprehend thy love.
I was a stranger, an outcast, a slave, a rebel,
but thy cross has brought me near,
has softened my heart,
has made me thy Father’s child,
has admitted me to thy family,
has made me joint-heir with thyself
Oh that I may love thee as thou lovest me,
that I may walk worthy of thee, Lord
that I may reflect the image of heaven’s first-born.
May I always see thy beauty with the clear eye of faith,
and feel the power of thy Spirit in my heart,
for unless he moved mightily in me
no inward fire will be kindled
In Jesus name, I ask it
The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers Edited by Arthur Bennet, 1975
- Have you ever struggled to share the gospel with others? Can you share your difficulties?
- Can you name the ways Jesus told his disciples how to shine their light, and how others would recognize them as his disciples?
- Is it possible for someone to witness Jesus when they have not known him as savior? Why, or why not?