Bearing Witness to the Risen Christ (Part 1)
In this new blog series, I want to talk about how followers of Jesus can “bear witness to Christ” in their day-to-day lives. Specifically, I want to do this by examining Acts 22-24, which describes several, varied examples when the Apostle Paul “bore witness” to Christ, and I want to draw out some principles that Christians today can follow when attempting to imitate Paul. First, however, I think it is important to demonstrate that bearing witness to Jesus is, in fact, something that God commands and expects his people to do.
From the very beginning, God made human beings to be special. Man and woman were made in his image and likeness, and given the responsibility to rule over the rest of the created order as his representatives (Gen. 1:26-28). God, as Creator, is the true King of the universe, but he delegated the right to manage, administrate, and reign over the world to Adam and Eve (and their descendants), who were supposed to be his representatives in the world. So from the very beginning, humanity was meant to bear witness to the rule and reign of God as humans ran the world on his behalf.
When God’s king and queen rebelled against him and threw the human race into sin (and the whole universe into turmoil), God began his program of redemption to heal the world and to rescue a people for himself from among the rebels. As part of this program, he chose a man named Abram and promised to make his descendants into a great nation, a nation through whom God intended to bless all of the families of the earth (Gen. 12:1-3). God told Abram, “I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing” (12:2). Abram’s great name was not for his own benefit, but was God’s means of showing his own name to be great, so that all of the families of the earth could know this God and be blessed by him.
Several generations later, once Abram’s family got good and numerous, God rescued them from an oppressive nation (Egypt) and led them out to a mountain where he entered into a covenant with them and gave them a new identity. God established them as his representatives to all the peoples of the earth, making them a “kingdom of priests” (Ex. 19:6) to the whole world. As priests, they would serve as mediators (middle-men) between God and human beings. In this way, the foreign nations could look at this new people (Israel) and learn about the God who created them.
This theme continues through the rest of the Old Testament and into the New Testament, which we’ll see next week as we continue this series.