Isaiah 43:10-11 (NIV)
“You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.”
In a court of law, witnesses play an important role. Witnesses provide a bridge between an unfamiliar event and the people (jurors or judges) who must render a decision about it. A witness’s value lies in his or her personal experience of the event in question, even when that experience is limited or not fully understood by the witness. A testimony that is limited but nevertheless truthful helps the court toward an accurate perception of the event, leading to conclusions that are reasonable and just.
The Isaiah passage quoted above was written to Jews living in exile in Babylon. God tells them they are in a perfect position to be his witnesses. God chose the Jews to share with their new neighbors everything they knew about God—how God’s prophecies had been proven true and how God cared for their ancestors in the wilderness. “Explain to them,” God says, “your hope in Me as your only God and savior.”
Before his ascension, Jesus commissioned all believers to continue this mission of being God’s witnesses in the world. If you are a follower of Christ, then you have been chosen by God to give true and faithful testimony of your experience to the people in your life for whom God’s saving grace is an unfamiliar event. You are the bridge God is providing them to make himself known.
Three assets qualified the Jews to be witnesses in Babylon: knowing God (personal experience), believing God (trust and faith), and understanding God (recognizing the nature, significance, and purpose of God as Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, and King). Jesus gives us a fourth asset in the Holy Spirit, who guides and empowers us to be true and faithful witnesses, even though our experience of God is limited and our understanding finite.
FATHER, help me to be a true witness for you in the relationships you have given me. Build in me a knowledge, belief, and understanding of your divine Self so that my witness will be accurate. Thank you for your Spirit, who gives life and power to my witness, making it an effective bridge to those who don’t know you.
Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15
What personal experience of God are you willing to share with others?