Christ’s last words to His disciples before He ascended to heaven were a declaration that the Holy Spirit would come to help them and that all believers in Christ were to be witnesses all over the world (Acts 1:8). In essence, Christ reiterated the Great Commission once more before His final ascension and said that believers will have a helper, the Holy Spirit.
But what does it mean to be a witness?
The Greek word used for witness is ?????? (Martus). It’s used 35 times in the New Testament and conveys the idea of a martyr as well as a witness. Out of those 35 times, the word is used negatively once in Acts 6:13 in relation to false witnesses. The other 34 times are in reference to one being a witness for God; to one spreading the good news of Christ’s resurrection.
Stephen’s defense sermon in Acts 7 shows the full affect of what it means to be a ??????. As believers, we are to proclaim Christ no matter the cost. Stephen was a witness for Christ and became a martyr as we understand it today by dying for his witness.
Being a witness means we share our experiences: we share what we’ve seen and heard (Acts 22:15). As Christians, we are to share our experiences of what Christ has done for us. The early Christians had people who were eye-witnesses not only to Christ’s death and resurrection, but to Christ’s work before that. They proclaimed what they experienced in hopes that others would believe them. Likewise, God is our witness in all that we do (Phil. 1:8; 1 Thess. 2:5).
With this definition of witness, we see that we are to proclaim with our mouth the goodness of Christ in our lives and to live according to that goodness, for Christ is our witness as well (Rev. 1:5). In word and deed, proclaim who God is.
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