“And you are witnesses of these things.” Luke 24:48
So many exciting things happened on that ‘Day after the resurrection’ and yet so much left unexplained that ten of the Apostles and a few other believers including Cleopas found themselves together that evening, sharing their witness with each other.
“And they rose up the same hour and returned to Jerusalem and found assembled the Eleven and those with them. And they said, “the Lord has indeed risen, and has appeared to Simon. ” And in the way they related the things happening, and how He had been known by them in breaking of the loaf.
Suddenly while Cleopas and his friend were sharing their story about Emmaus Road, Jesus, Himself appears in the room! “And as they spoke this, Jesus Himself stood in their midst, and said to them, “Peace to you!” (Luke 24:36)
You’d think that after all that was going on, and the perfect timing. of the Lord, that the Apostles and friends would be absolutely thrilled and sighing sighs of relief, but their response was anything but that….. “But they were terrified and filled with fear, for they thought they saw a spirit”. (Luke 24:37)
They were terrified, feeling fear. They were freighted, experiencing fear because it happened so suddenly. They were troubled, having a problem with it all. They thought a ghost had appeared! It all happened so suddenly that they were totally unprepared, even though several of them had already seen the risen Christ.
The Apostle Mark wrote that the reason for the reaction, their expression of fear, had something to do with the condition of their hearts. “Afterward He appeared to the Eleven as they reclined. And He reproached their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.” (Mark 16:14)
Jesus sought to calm them. ‘And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
The Apostle John recorded that Jesus even repeated the blessing of peace that He spoke when He entered the room. ‘And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Then Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you.” (John 20;20-21)
Jesus even ate some honey and fish to prove to His doubting followers that He was indeed alive and real, and He even invited them to feel His body. ‘Behold My hands and My feet, that I am He! Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see Me have” And when He had spoken this, He showed them His hands and feet’, And while they still did not believe for joy, and wondered, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” And they handed to Him a piece of a broiled fish and of a honeycomb. And He took it and ate before them.’
Jesus made sure that the Apostles had no doubt of His resurrection, challenging them to determine the facts on what they saw, what they heard, because they were there.
The Apostle John, reiterated this when he wrote the 1 John: 2-3 John at a ripe old age, in his 90’s. John never forgot it. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.”
Four times he mentions seen. “We have seen it and testify to it.”
Jesus would testify that this was really His body, yet glorified; was still identifiable as one that they were familiar with and by showing them the His hands, His side, that this was really Him.
The mark of a good witness is being certain without a doubt that what you saw, what you heard is what you believe to be a true account.
I remember when I was about 25 years old and I worked for a major grocery chain, and I was the person in charge one evening. It was a few minutes after 7 in the evening, the store was packed with customers, all the registers were going when one of the clerk’s helpers came up to me and said that this man wanted to see me. I approached him in front of isle 6 and he revealed to me by word and a gun that he wanted money. I was being robbed.
I remembered my training on what to do if this were to happen. I looked at him right in his eyes, identified his features, and listened intently at his voice. I kept calm, and went to several registers to get whatever currency they had in their tills, and went to the safe and gave him some of what was in there that could be seen. As he left, I followed through on company procedures to make the required calls; police, Manager, etc.
Several weeks later I was called by the police department to come in and look at a few men they had arrested on robbery charges. I was behind a glass where I could see them, but they couldn’t see me. I was able to identify the suspect, by my eyewitness. In court, I was able to testify that this was the man who robbed the store, by both seeing and hearing his voice, and he was put in jail for 15 years for armed robbery. The point is that because I was certain by what I saw….. (I remembered the features in his face.) And by what I heard…… (I remembered the tone, and dialect of his voice) I was able to be a good reliable witness, because my witness was credible.
Jesus was doing this with the Apostles, training them that by seeing that what He was going to show them would make them credible witnesses to His resurrection.
“And you are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:48)
Vance Havner wrote that: “There is a great difference between a “sales talk” and a “Spirit-empowered witness” People do not come to Christ at the end of an argument.”
Simon Peter came to Jesus because Andrew went after him with a “testimony.” We go forth in the authority of His name, in the power of His spirit, bringing a believable testimony of the grace of Jesus Christ. We are called to be witnesses of these things also, by believing in the accuracy of the testimony of what is recorded in the Bible. But we in ourselves cannot convince anyone unless we have a personal testimony about the things we speak of. This comes with a personal belief that what God say’s is true. We are seen truthful in our testimony when we are consistent in it.
People need to know that what you believe is truth.
As we go about the rest of this year, let our lights so shine before men that the truth of Jesus Christ will set many free, by His Word, by His Spirit and through our testimony that Jesus Christ is alive! We are called to go out and preach this Good News that the whole world would be turned upside ‘right’ for Jesus Christ.