You will be Jesus' witnesses

The two main challenges Christians often express about sharing Jesus with others are 1) knowing what to say and 2) overcoming the fear of saying it. The experience of Jesus’ disciples before Pentecost was not much different.

The day Jesus ascended into heaven he told them, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…” (Acts 1:8).  The power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was manifested in “a sound like the blowing of a violent wind” and “tongues of fire” and the miraculous ability “to speak in other tongues.”  Yet, a greater manifestation of the Holy Spirit on that day was worked in the minds and hearts of Jesus’ faithful followers.  

Earlier Jesus told them, “The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).  There was the answer to the “what” they were to say.  Jesus said, “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me” (John 15:26). The Holy Spirit came as promised and filled the disciples with knowledge and understanding of Jesus and his completed work of salvation. With the Spirit's help, they were able to see what the life and death of Jesus meant for them and for the world.

The Holy Spirit also worked in their hearts to give them courage to speak…not only on Pentecost when Peter “raised his voice and addressed the crowd,” but also as time went on they proclaimed Christ far and wide, even when it meant opposition, ridicule, suffering and ultimately death.  By the power of the Holy Spirit their fear of being Christ’s witnesses was overcome.

None of us will ever experience the kind of visible outpouring of the Holy Spirit that took place on that first Pentecost. But God the Holy Spirit is always with us, for Jesus sent “the Counselor to be with you forever” (John 14:16).  The Holy Spirit continues to work invisibly through God’s Word to open our minds to God’s truth.  The Holy Spirit’s power is unleashed through the Word of God to help us “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  By the power of the Spirit, we are made “wise” for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).    

The Holy Spirit also moves us, and he emboldens us to tell others that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” The Holy Spirit who dwells in us gives us the power to overcome our fears about witnessing. “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Every day is Pentecost for Christians.  For the Holy Spirit is still with us to help us know what to say as Jesus’ witnesses and to overcome the fear of saying it.


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