“You will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth,” Jesus told these words to a group of people who knew nothing about geography, as most of them were fishermen who depended for their livelihood on the nearby sea. They were uneducated and did not know how to articulate their thoughts clearly. Moreover, they were frightened and unable to digest the truth that Jesus was going to His Father. They were ignorant of Holy Spirit, who had to come and stay within them and felt like orphans. In this helpless situation, they were asked to receive the power and spread the Good News to the ends of the earth.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.Acts 1:8
As Jesus specifically spoke this to His disciples, believers relate this statement of Jesus only to the people who serve God. Believers admire and imitate their leaders, thinking that they are the ones who have received the power to spread the Gospel. Not only the believers, even the leaders, think of this as their special privilege and preach the Gospel by making the believers their faithful spectators. Leaders expect the believers to receive power, tongues, and the gift of healing and need their presence to show how mightily God is using them. Instead of asking the believer to follow Jesus as their role model, they would love to present themselves as the gold standard and ask people to follow in their footsteps.
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.Ephesians 5:1-2
Outcome of Misconception
Simon superficially admired the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in the ministry of apostles and offered money to receive the same power to share the rights with the disciples.
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”Acts 8:18-19
Peter cursed Simon and did not allow him to become their co-worker in Christ. On the contrary, superficially witnessing the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, people generously donate and claim themselves as partners in proclaiming the Good News. It will be hard to find Simon-like characters among the donors if we rely on partners and their contributions more than God and His guidance. Leaders would not like the believers becoming leaders as they want to retain the leadership forever on this earth. At the same time, they are willing to share this privilege with people like Simon the sorcerer.
Testimony and Testimonial
When a believer shares their personal experience of salvation as a testimony, it is equal to hundred sermons preached by eminent preachers. Unfortunately, leaders convert the testimonies into testimonials and use them to promote their agendas.
Do not take advantage of each other, but fear your God. I am the LORD your God.Leviticus 25:17
When Jesus ministered among the people, He encouraged each recipient of grace by saying, your faith has earned this for you. Being the author of our faith, Jesus calls it our faith because the faith of a believer brought in a change. Most power ministers ignore the author of faith and the role of a believer in trading in their problem for faith but rather they credit it to themselves as the one brought about the change in their lives.
Is it right to claim credit for themselves for the things that God Himself is doing? When Jesus drove away legions of evil spirits from a man, He did not tell the crowd that I delivered him, but he asked the man to go into the village to share his testimony. If we motivate each recipient of grace to testify their experience in Christ, the whole world will eagerly wait for the second coming of Jesus.
Light Of The World
While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”John 9:5
God created us in His image but man lost the image of God because of sin. God sent Jesus into this world to redeem His image in us. As He gave us His Son, He is not ashamed to make us the Light of the World (Matthew 5:14). When Adam and Eve realized their nakedness, God clothed them with dresses made of animal skin. When the appropriate time came, God graciously clothed us with the image of Jesus so that we regain the image of God and become His children. Now, not our shameful sin, but our rejuvenated life emits the glorious righteousness of God, and we are the light of the world.
So in Christ Jesus, you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.Galatians 3:26-27
Paul asked the believers in the church of Corinth to continue practising the Lord’s Supper till the second coming of Jesus. He further said that when you take part in the Lord’s Supper, you bear witness to the gentiles about the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross and His glorious resurrection. Paul was not mentioning the repetitious sung Eucharist, but the life of the believers who consume the body of Christ, the Word of God, and absorbs it into their bloodstream. It is no more our sin-stained blood but the righteous blood of Jesus that runs in our veins and gives us authority to call our God, Abba Father.
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.Galatians 4:4-5
We All Are His Witnesses
……. let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.Matthew 5:16
We should not restrict ourselves from bearing witness to God, thinking that bearing witness is the job of ordained Priests and Preachers. We should shine for Jesus, as God clothed each believer with the image of Jesus. We should remember that the precious blood of Jesus has replaced the sin-stained blood of our body. With this salvation experience, it is not appropriate for us to symbolically bear witness by celebrating the Sung Eucharist within the four walls of the church and forbidding the gentiles from participating in it.
We take part in the Lord’s supper redundantly to receive pardon for our sin. Seeking forgiveness at His table is not an act of testifying Jesus to them, but remembering His grace as a forgiven child of God will bear His testimony. Two thousand years ago, God forgave our sins through the sacrificial death of Jesus. But the warning Paul gave to the indisciplined believers in the church of Corinth still bothers some of us, and many avoid taking part in the Holy Communion by believing that they are not yet holy enough to take part in it.
We have to realize that we have Jesus in our hearts, and through our lives, we have to prove to the nonbelievers that He is alive. It is not the empty tomb that bears the witness for the resurrection of Jesus, but the placard that hangs on our hearts saying that Jesus is on board. When Jesus enters into our hearts, He will accomplish the will of God in our lives, and so will we.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat (do the will of God) with that person, and they with me.Revelation 3:20
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. (John 4:34)