Week 13: Witness

FRIDAY

We have an opportunity before us to be witnesses for Jesus. In fact that is God’s desire for each of us. John says in his first epistle, “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (I John 4:14-15) Each of the people we looked at in the Gospel of John resurrection accounts went on to testify that Jesus was the Christ. They went to different places and had different roles, yet this truth remains, they bore witness that Jesus had risen from the dead and was the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

As you continue to move on from the Easter celebration, how will you bear witness to Jesus as a risen savior? Too often we remember the amazing things that God has accomplished in Christ but then move on to something else. Whatever the reason may be we slowly forget the excitement of the resurrection and the promise of new life for us. As we go forward may that not be true of us. May we be found faithful in being witnesses to the wonders of God’s love and telling others of all that He has done for them!

THURSDAY

Peter, though passionate and committed to living out his faith, made many mistakes. Right before the crucifixion of Jesus he made one he said he would never make, he denied being a follower of Jesus. How often have we been like Peter? We have great intentions in following Jesus and even make bold statements about things that we will accomplish, and then it happens…we make a mistake in some way and fall short of the person we claim to be. We do something that we know we should not do. Where do we go from that point? Do we allow our past failures to keep us from being faithful in the present?

Paul told the Philippians, “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13–14) Peter had this heart in him as well. He knew that he had made mistakes in the past. But he knew that he could never be the person God was calling Him to be unless He confessed those things and trusted that God’s grace was enough to cover them. From there Peter made the decision that he would look toward the present and continue to be faithful with God’s purpose for His life. Peter would go on and make mistakes as he followed Christ, but he would continue to ask forgiveness, continue to leave those things in the past, and seek to live differently in the present with His eyes fixed on following Jesus.

WEDNESDAY

Thomas has often been remembered by the account that occurs after the resurrection where he doubts that Jesus has really risen from the dead. What had brought Thomas from the bold individual in John 11:16 to this account where He would not even believe the testimony of the fellow disciples? When Christ was crucified Thomas experienced a great amount of pain. The person he had put all of his hopes for the future was gone and seemingly defeated. Thomas had devoted three years of his life to following Him. Where would he go from here? He had been hurt deeply at the loss of Jesus and now doubted that things would get better.

We too have allowed the hurts we have experience to make us question if things will get better. We too choose not to believe unless we physically can feel and see the change right in front of our face. We all have been like Thomas. We all have allowed the things that have happened in our past to make us doubt what will happen in the future. We all like Thomas  need to reach out for Jesus and have him speak the words we need to hear. The words that will help us let go of the hurt and doubt and move forward in our relationship with God and what He is calling us to do. Thomas was changed in that moment with Christ and he went on to have a great impact for the Kingdom of God. May we too leave our doubt and hurt behind and go where God calls us to go and do what God call us to do and be the people that God is calling us to be. May the truth of I John 4:16 encourage you today, “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

TUESDAY

Mary Magdalene was skeptical when she heard that Jesus had risen from the dead. In fact she was so skeptical that even when she was standing next to Jesus she thought he was merely the gardener. Skepticism will blind us from the truth, even when it is right in front of our eyes. Skepticism runs rampant throughout our culture. We are not immune from its influence and it often will creep into our relationship with God. We begin to doubt that God will help us in a certain way or even that He does not really care about what we are going through.

The answer to skepticism is faith. We cannot approach God in prayer with a skeptical heart that questions if our coming to Him can really make a difference. Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” The problem for us comes when we come to God believing He will do what we want and then leaving feeling confused when it does not happen. The verse does not say that God will do whatever we want, but that when we come to Him believing in who He is that He rewards those who seek Him. He might not answer as we expect Him to but as we continue to trust Him and seek Him, the answers we do get will be better than we can imagine. Do not let skepticism take hold today, continue to walk by faith!

MONDAY

What it must have been like to be there that today! To have all your hopes and dreams for the future shattered and then to show up at an empty tomb and find, “He is not here! He has risen!” Then to realize the best hopes and dreams you could have imagined did not compare with what actually was accomplished! To be able to see Jesus come back victoriously and know that somehow this Man had the power to change everything! Yes, it must have been something indeed to be there to witness that day. It is amazing for us today as well to know that our lives, our hopes, our dreams are all significantly impacted by that day. We might not have witnessed it first hand, but we certainly share in the joy!

Peter said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (I Peter 1:3)Blessed be God indeed! We have a living hope through Jesus Christ! Do you have that living hope today? It is a hope that supersedes all situations. A hope that causes us to continue to persevere through life’s challenges; to celebrate all God has accomplished and all He has done in our lives; to rejoice in seeing Him transform other’s lives around us! The resurrection reminds us of God’s power to work amazing things beyond our imaginations or expectations. May you be filled with joy in the greatness of God today and filled with gratefulness for all that He has accomplished!