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I’ve been thinking about being a witness the last few days. When Jesus appeared to the disciples after the Resurrection, as told in Luke 24, the Lord “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.” 

We use the word ‘witness’ now to mean an onlooker as a noun, and something you see as a verb. For instance, I am a witness, and it is because I witnessed something. However, the Greek word used in Luke is ‘martyr’ and the first definition for this word in the Oxford English Dictionary is something different to ‘witness’:  “the specific designation on honour (connoting the highest degree of saintship) for one who voluntarily undergoes the penalty of death for refusing to renounce the Christian faith or any articles of it for perseverance in any Christian virtue; or for obedience to any law or command of the Church.” 

So for the early Church, and the first followers of Jesus, witness meant more than an outside observer; it meant someone deeply invested in the truth, no matter the cost. 

When Jesus told his followers they were witnesses to these things, He told them a fact and issued a challenge. In some ways it would be easier to just go back to fishing. Who would believe them, who would believe what they saw? 

If Jesus was raised from the dead, that must mean what He said was true. It must mean we are to love our enemies, we are to love God above all and love our neighbours as a response to that love of God. It would mean that nothing else matters, and it would be a truth that they (we) could not deny, no matter the cost. We would be witnesses

I am a witness! I have seen the Resurrection in my life, and in the lives of others. And I have seen the hatred and the fear and anger of those who oppose this truth, and I hope to proclaim the truth of repentance and forgiveness as long as I live. 

Are you ready to be a witness?

Frank, Inspire Missioner in Texas, contributed this reflection from his blog.

This reflection reminded us of an article in the Beacon of Hope last year, that challenged us to think again about what it means to actually follow Jesus. Read it again, and invite Jesus to show you what it means to be His witness where you are right now, and in the contexts He will place you in the coming months.

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