Week 6 - 19 May 2020
'You are witnesses of these things.' (Lk 24:48)
The story of the healing of the man blind from birth in John chapter 9, illustrates perfectly what it means
to be a witness and is a good example as to how we can obey Jesus' call to action.
The man had woken that morning, as every morning since birth, to the darkness of the blind.
He had gone to his usual pitch where he would sit begging, hoping that today would somehow be better than yesterday.
That people would take pity and be more generous, and the pitiful amount of coins given yesterday would be increased.
He never imagined that by evening he would encounter Jesus, be healed and be able to see.
It must have seemed the best thing possible; but things got unpleasant when he started telling his family and friends.
All he did was tell the story; it may have been a bit far-fetched in the telling - the spit making mud pies and being put on the eyes.
But people's reactions were strange; some didn't even question who he was;
surely having two good eyes shouldn't have made him look any different, he was still the same person.
Then the Pharisees got involved. Things got worse when they interrogated him.
He told the story as it happened but they just didn't believe him.
They questioned his parents, but they were too afraid to back him up.
All those questions kept coming at him and he wasn't educated enough to answer them entirely; so he told the story again... and again.
He didn't know anything about Jesus and finally summed up his answers with
'One thing I know. I was blind and now I can see.' (Jn 9:25)
In a court of law, a witness can drastically alter the whole course of a trial; they play a key role.
The Greek word for witness is martus (the root of the word 'martyr') which denotes someone who speaks of what they have seen or heard.
When Jesus said we would be his witnesses, he was assuring us that we all have a story to tell;
we all have the ability to be a witness. We don't have to be extraverts or clever orators;
we just have to speak of what we have seen, heard and experienced.
The early disciples took up the challenge to be witnesses for Jesus, they ended up under cross-examination, just like the man born blind.
When challenged by the Jewish high court not to speak about Jesus, Peter and John's reply was emphatic;
'We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard' (Acts 4:20).
For many, down through the ages, speaking out led to death; but they spoke out anyway.
We do not have to know everything about Christianity to be a witness for Jesus.
There will be many things we do not understand; but our own experiences are a powerful tool
when it comes to answering Jesus' call to action.
Personal testimony is one of the most effective ways of sharing our faith - simply sharing our story.
When we share our story of what God has done for us,
we are showing the practical relevance of our faith, which is grounded in real life.
One thing we will always have is our own story.
People may try to cut us down with clever arguments or confuse us with theological quotations
but no one can dispute our testimony which is based on what we have seen, heard and experienced.
We can all echo the words of the blind man;
'One thing I know. I was blind, but now I see.'
For us the blindness might spiritual rather than physical;
but however it came about, it is God working in our lives, through his grace; truly a miracle.
Let's give thanks to God and be bold in telling others our story of his goodness to us and his effect on our lives.