Called to be witnesses

Salt of the earth

‘You will be my witnesses’ (Acts 1:8)  Duncan spoke this morning on Acts 1:1-11.  Here’s a link to the video on that theme which we watched.

Last Thursday was ‘ascension day’ when Christians remember that Jesus, 40 days after his resurrection, returned to the spiritual dimension from which he had come. Duncan didn’t focus on the mechanics of what took place, simply noting that Luke, the author of Acts, presents it as an event which actually happened.

Next Sunday, is Pentecost Sunday, when Christians remember the day when the disciples were filled and empowered by God’s Holy Spirit, given as Jesus had promised, and empowered to live for Jesus. (See Acts 1:5)

Between these two significant Christian festivals, Duncan asked us to pause and reflect on Jesus’ challenge. He’d given his followers convincing proofs that he had indeed risen from death,  spoken to them about ‘the kingdom of God.’ (Acts 1:4)  Now, prompted by the Holy Spirit, he gave them (Acts 1:2) specific instructions, including this one:

‘you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ (Acts 1:8)

Perhaps the disciples had imagined that the coming of Jesus would be a politically transformational event. (See Acts 1:6) But they were told  ‘kingdom of heaven’ and the work of the Spirit had, primarily, a spiritual rather than a political character.

We too are called to be witnesses, empowered by the Spirit. ‘By our words and actions we are to point people to the Kingdom of God,’ said Duncan.

He quoted Jesus:

13 ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 ‘You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16)

Duncan said in conclusion:

Jesus ascended that the power of the Holy Spirit might descend and give all future followers power. Power to follow, power to love, power to witness. Power to be salt and light, to witness, ‘to let your light so shine before others’ that they will be impacted in the ways Jesus anticipated in Matthew 5:16. That others may see our witness, and join the throng of global witness for Jesus.

I wonder what you feel today about the call to be a witness for Jesus? How does it feel? What do you think it means for you on a day-to-day basis? What do you think it means for us as a church. Are there ways in which our life together can be a witness for Jesus and his kingdom?

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