I’ve never seen Abraham Lincoln give the Gettysburg Address but I believe he was on that battlefield and spoke, “Four score and seven years ago…” I’ve never seen the Wright brothers’ first flight near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, but I believe their plane soared through the air. I trust these as facts because of the witnesses who were present.
Witnesses are people who saw, heard, and experienced an event. We wouldn’t have history classes in school without these witnesses. But our faith would also look differently without eyewitness. John, one of the four gospel writers, wrote his account of Jesus’ life because he wanted people to know who Jesus is and the events of his life. He saw people miraculously healed. He witnessed dead people being raised to life. He saw his teacher and friend nailed to a cross and three days later be raised to life. What stories he has to share!
Our faith isn’t simply blind acceptance of stories handed down from generation to generation. Our faith is built on people who experienced what they wrote about. And just like those first eyewitnesses, we are able to experience and share our stories of God’s grace and mercy; because as John writes, he is alive. Our stories will look different than our first century counterparts, but they are as valuable. To formulate your eyewitness story, think of answered prayers, miracles, times when God has spoken to you, or how your life is different since believing in Jesus. You are an eyewitness to him every day. You have a story to tell. Don’t be shy. Share it. We would be in a much different place if the eyewitnesses before us kept the story to themselves!
Scripture: John 19:28-35
28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.