Becoming a True Witness
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
And all these (disciples) were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.
The disciples walked with Jesus and heard Him teach daily. They were witnesses to his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into Heaven. They knew He was really the Son of God – the promised Messiah – and they were His witnesses. Jesus had told them to remain in Jerusalem and to wait upon the Father’s promise before leaving to take the gospel to other areas. They would not be able to effectively share what they had witnessed until they received power from the Holy Spirit. Until then, they would have to wait and submit themselves to prayer, which they did.
God often gives us a plan or even a glimpse of what He wants to do through us, but we must wait and pray until we receive the power to do it. Many times, we hear the plan and want to run with it. When we fail, we often question whether or not we ever heard from God or that He is at work at all in our lives. Worse yet, we may blame someone else when our plans don’t succeed as we’d hoped. Unless we are moving forth in the power of the Holy Spirit, however, our best devised plans and good intentions will fail.
After the disciples received their final instructions from Jesus, they remained in Jerusalem as He commanded and united themselves in prayer, along with the women. Of all the people who should have been hurt, offended, angry, and even bitter about what had happened, Mary the mother of Jesus was with them. Somehow, she managed to let go of her hurt long enough to forgive and to proceed with the calling to be His witness. His plan was greater than her hurt, and there would be no better way to honor her Son than to unite with the disciples in prayer and proceed to share the gospel. Her hurt was a part of God’s greater plan to save the world, and she had to let it go in order be a witness to the power of the Holy Spirit and His name.
Sometimes, our own hurt holds us back. When we nurse wounds by harboring offense and bitterness, we may have just reason for feeling the way we do, but unless we can let it go and be united in prayer with God’s people, we will not receive the power of the Holy Spirit to move forward. Surrendering that hurt to Christ is the very thing God will use to transform you into the image of His Son and make you a powerful witness.
When someone knows what you have been through and sees that you are unharmed and free of anger or bitterness, your witness speaks to them. They know what you have is real, and they desire it, too. Anyone can have a critical, judgmental, angry, or bitter spirit, but it takes something supernatural to overcome and live above hurt – especially when it was intentional and evil. When you give your hurt to God and choose to forgive, you become His witness through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The word, witnesses, in verse 8 is a noun and not a verb. You are a witness to Christ and the work He has done in your life. We often mistake this word for its verb form and think we have to do something to make something happen in order to effectively witness for Christ. Being His witness, however, is about what Jesus has already done and not about what we are to do. In fact, the original Greek word used here is indicative of a martyr. To effectively be His witness, we have to die to ourselves and our own plans and simply become changed into new life as a work of the gospel. We become witnesses to His transforming work, and the power of the Holy Spirit rests upon us as His witness (noun). This requires recognizing sin in our lives, repenting of it, submitting it to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and allowing Him to make us a new creation to live free from that hurt and/or sin.
We live in a world that desperately needs to see new life. When people see no difference in us than the rest of the world, they feel no reason to change. In fact, we may only justify their case to remain as they are. To effectively be His witnesses, people must see a change in us. They must know that this Jesus is real, and He has the power to change them, too. When we get real with God, He will get real about blessing us, our ministry, and our calling.
Have a blessed day!