What does it mean to be a witness to Jesus?
The New Oxford American Dictionary offers one definition of witness as “an open profession of faith through words and actions.” Depending on the translation, the word for witness in scripture is interchanged with testimony and evidence. So being a witness to Christ means giving an open profession, testimony, or evidence of what you know to be true about Jesus through your words and actions.
Most of my Christian life I’ve understood being a witness to or for Christ as someone who shares the gospel message with unbelievers, who speaks of His transformational work in their lives, and who emulates Jesus in their morality, service, and love for mankind.
Sounds like a powerful witness, right? Yet, according to great men and great minds like Oswald Chambers, there is so much more to being a witness to Christ.
Chambers writes in My Utmost for His Highest, “When we are born again by the Spirit of God, our testimony is based solely on what God has done for us, and rightly so. But that will change and be removed forever once you ‘receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…’. Only then will you begin to realize what Jesus meant when He went on to say, ‘…you shall be witnesses to Me….’ Not witnesses to what Jesus can do— that is basic and understood— but ‘witnesses to Me….’ We will accept everything that happens as if it were happening to Him, whether we receive praise or blame, persecution or reward.”
Oswald goes on to explain that only someone totally compelled by the majesty of His power will be able to take this kind of stand for Jesus Christ stating, “It is the only thing that matters, and yet it is strange that it’s the last thing we as Christian workers realize.” Herein lies a deeper work of God and, subsequently, a deeper transformation of a witness to Christ.
Naturally, we begin our faith journey testifying to what Jesus has done for us, in us, and through us. As we walk further down the path of faith, we begin to recognize the call to endure trials, suffering, and perhaps even persecution as the embodiment of Jesus.
Paul describes this deeper work of God many times in his letters, yet perhaps most poignantly in Galatians 2:20 (ESV), “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Living by faith and, subsequently, being a witness to Christ means we become the embodiment of Jesus. We no longer live, but Christ lives in and through us. Are you ready and willing to accept everything that happens to you as if it were happening to Him?
Praise or blame?
Persecution or reward?
Good times or bad?
In sickness or in health?
For better or for worse?
Sounds like a marriage proposal? Well, it kind of is one. Are you willing as the bride of Christ (the church) to marry and intertwine your life so intimately with Christ that your transformation makes you almost unrecognizable to the things of this world?
Being a witness to Christ ultimately means becoming one with the Father as Jesus is one with the Father (John 17). It means experiencing His death so that we may embody His life. It’s so much more than what He’s done for you and me.