Yesterday’s worship services and Digging Deeper service projects and Saturday’s mission events all focused on serving as major tenet of discipleship. Witness is, too. They go hand-in-hand.
Jesus’ final instructions to the disciples were:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20).
The Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:46-49).
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 (Acts 1:8).
What the disciples saw from Jesus’ life and experienced in their own is that some people are persuaded by powerful words, but many need the witness of service to give those words credibility. We watch how people live before we investigate why they live that way. If the witness proclaims, “Jesus changed my life,” the changes need to be evident. Think of a cross-examination. “And what proof can you offer, dear witness, to the change you say Jesus brought into your life?” What would you point to?
Maybe you can say the weight of guilt is much lighter in your life, or that you have joy and peace you didn’t know were possible before, or you are more motivated than ever to be part of God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven. And all of that leads you to want to serve others because one way Jesus changed your life is by making you want to follow him, which always seems to lead to serving others in his name. And that, my friends, sounds like a credible witness to me.