Weekly Devotional - August 16, 2017
“And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.” (John 15:27)
Scripture Reading – II Corinthians 4:7-14
John 15 starts out with abiding in Christ. Although we are not physically with Christ as His disciples were, we are with Him spiritually, and it’s our abiding in Him that compels us to act and bear fruit. John 15:27 says, “You also will bear witness.” Abiding in Christ and bearing witness are directly connected with one another. Jesus said that we are in Him and He is in us (John 14:20). If we are in Christ and abiding in Him, His life and love will flow through us. We will desire to go and bear fruit and we can face a hostile world with full confidence, because as we testify, the Spirit of Truth is at work causing men and women to accept Christ as their Savior and Lord.
Jesus always intended for the gospel to be spread through us, His disciples. Unlike many people, who have founded religions, Jesus never wrote a book. Instead, He left it to His followers to record their testimonies in the form of written books called the Gospels. This is consistent with the intentions expressed by Jesus throughout His earthly ministry. When Jesus first called His disciples, He told them that they would be fishers of men (Matt. 4:19). When He commissioned His disciples, He told them they would be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). Jesus was constantly sending people out to be His witnesses. Just as He did with the Samaritan woman or the man who was possessed by demons, so even now Jesus is sending us out as witnesses.
Witnesses do not make up a story, they simply repeat what they know is true. The disciples were eyewitnesses to Christ’s death and resurrection. Many people can claim to know the truth but, in fact, they can actually be fabricating or embellishing the story. This is different from what the disciples did. Peter himself testified that he and the other disciples were eyewitnesses: “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pet.1:16). They proclaimed what they had seen and heard (Acts 4:20). And they were willing to suffer and die for this testimony, because it was true.
God has commissioned us to do likewise. The Spirit of Truth is given to us so we can give witness to Christ. We can be confident that the message we proclaim, that we read in the gospels, is true. And the more we realize the hopelessness of the world’s situation and the greatness of God’s plan, the more we will be willing to pay the price to, “proclaim the excellences of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). Proclaiming this to the world means that we must be willing to go. It means we leave our comforts and safety to go where the darkness is thickest, because we know that the power of the Spirit goes with us.
Christ’s disciples testified about Him. They didn’t consider the obstacles they faced, so they were willing to pay the price, even the ultimate price of their very lives. Christ is worth it. After all that He had done, the disciples gave themselves joyfully to the task of bearing witness. While the world roared and wielded fiery arrows towards them, the disciples stood firm in their task, because they knew that Jesus reigns. You, too, can expect opposition from the world—even hatred—but take heart. Some will respond. Fruit will be borne. And it will be worth it! In the midst of great opposition in Corinth, God commanded Paul to keep testifying, “for I have many in this city who are my people” (Acts 18:10). Facing difficulties like these are not easy, but God gives us the courage when we need it. Pray like Paul did, “that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel” (Eph. 6:19). Paul didn’t testify when it was easy or convenient; He knew that as a disciple you testify at all times, but he also had confidence that God was working through his witness to draw many people to Christ. What is keeping your from witnessing more boldly?