The Job of a Witness

January 21, 2020

For you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. Acts 22:15 ESV

Have you ever been part of a jury or witnessed a trial? It’s fascinating to see the role that each player fulfills. The jury gets to have opinions and choose what they believe is true and reliable and what needs to happen as a result of the evidence they have been presented. The judge rules over everyone and everything and has the responsibility to make sure every witness gets a hearing. The attorneys are trying to argue for their clients, trying to ascertain that the exact information needed is shared. The witnesses have very little wiggle room.

If a witness begins to say, “I think” or “maybe,” there’s an immediate objection. The judge or the attorneys are anxious to make sure that personal opinions are not allowed as evidence. If the witness does a “he said” report on an incident, immediately there is another objection. The witness is firmly reminded that true evidence is only what he has seen or heard himself. He had to be there, had to see it firsthand in order for his testimony to carry weight. No second accounts are permitted.

Those are the instructions we have been given from the very beginning. We are firsthand witnesses. No matter how simple our sharing, it has to be what we saw with our own eyes, heard with our own ears, experienced with our own lives. It can’t be an opinion. It can’t be knowledge we picked up from someone else. The only way to fulfill the vital role we have been given is to personally experience the power of Jesus, and then share what we have seen and heard.

Personal experience makes what we have to say attractive and compelling. For more than a decade a wonderful and very effective teacher recognized how true this was concerning the subject of patriotism and the history of World War II. He had never served in the military and was too young to have experienced any of World War II, even as a citizen. He decided to make an unforgettable impact on his students by inviting my dad, a veteran of both Pearl Harbor and D-Day, to come and address his classes every year. Other veterans came as well, but the ones who made the most impact were those who were not simply enrolled in the military but served in active duty. They had been in battle, wounded (my dad in 11 places), and they knew the cost and satisfaction of serving. Dad firsthand with his own eyes saw and heard Winston Churchill. He was a 101st Airborne paratrooper and he had the firsthand experience of dropping from the black night sky into enemy territory. The young students were riveted.

The success of our status as witnesses does not depend on eloquence or natural ability to communicate. The impact of our witness depends on the reality of own experience; personally, what we have seen and heard.

  • What has Jesus done for me personally? What do I know for sure because I have seen it and heard it myself? That is my privilege and responsibility to share. No one else can share it like I can. Today share something you know for sure with someone.