TESTIFY - Good Friday 2017
This season is prime time to talk about the Gospel. We can launch our conversations with non-Christians from the calendar, just as we can at Christmas. We can talk to people about news stories, including reports of persecution against Christians during Holy Week. But most of all, we should pray that we would be faithful witnesses to the Lord Jesus Christ.
When we testify, we can and should tell our own story of how we came to faith in Christ. But, remember, the most important parts of our testimonies are not unique – they are shared with all Christians down through the centuries. I believe the testimony of others. I believe that eyewitnesses of Jesus life, death and resurrection are trustworthy. I have heard and read their testimony and I believe it, by the grace of God. That’s what makes me a Christian.
Consider these words from the beginning of the Apostle John’s first letter:
1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. (1 John 1:1-4, ESV)
The events of Jesus life, death and resurrection happened in history – they are verified by many eyewitnesses. “These things were not done in a corner” (said the Apostle Paul to King Agrippa in Acts 26). In 1 Corinthians 15, we read that there were over 500 eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Christ.
The New Testament Documents were published early enough that if they would have been fabricated (a lie), there were many people who could have contradicted them successfully. Note the Apostle John’s appeal to the senses – this is not just spiritual sensation, the Gospel is based on real historical events in the Roman Empire.
From the beginning Jesus, the Son of God, the Eternal Life that was with the Father has appeared in space and time on earth. He is God (compare John 1:1). God took on flesh and lived among men for a time. Jesus is the “Word of Life,” He is the Creator, the Redeemer, the physical image of the invisible God. This is he who died on a Roman Cross to bear the punishment for human sin. This is why we still gather to remember Good Friday.
Without Jesus’ life and death on planet earth, in space and time, no one could be forgiven of their sins by God. Without the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the tomb, we would have no hope of eternal life. The Apostles gave testimony to the facts of Jesus life, death, resurrection, and teachings so that we might have fellowship with them and together with Christians around the world, throughout time and – eventually – in Heaven for all eternity.
To have this fellowship is to be in a committed in a relationship to accomplish a common goal. True Christians are partners in the work of the Gospel. We give testimony, we bear witness to Jesus the Saviour. The Apostles’ story is our story. We testify as insiders!
Our fellowship with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the great goal of all Christian faith, service and life – knowing God’s love and having a relationship with Him for all eternity. The fruit of this fellowship is joy, so that our joy may be full. Let’s tell others about this! Testify, so that this joy may be theirs as well.
More in Pastoral Blog
September 13, 2019Luther's Rose and Other Symbols in Stained Glass
August 12, 2019Sexuality, Gender and Christian Witness August 24 with Denny Burk
May 3, 2019Happy and Holy Christians