“You saw these things happen—you are witnesses. You must tell people to change their hearts and lives. If they do this, their sins will be forgiven. You must start at Jerusalem and preach these things in my name to all nations. Listen! My Father has promised you something; I will send it to you. But you must stay in Jerusalem until you have received that power from heaven.” Luke 24:47-49 ICB
Jesus is talking with his disciples. They had seen him be killed. They had heard that he rose from the dead. Now – they know – that he is risen! He’s standing right there – in the flesh – in front of him. They had seen it all (literally!).
NOW they are different. Changed. They are witnesses. A witness is someone who sees something happen and begins to speak about it. That’s what Jesus says they are. When you see something magnificent, it changes you. The disciples have been changed. Made different but what they saw and NOW they will begin to speak about it (Notice he doesn’t say “you should be a witness” or “you might think about becoming a witness. He just lays it out there. You ARE.)
You must tell people to change their hearts and lives. Notice – again – the lack of wiggle room. He lays it out there. You must tell people to change. Why? Because the disciples are so much smarter now? Because the disciples have been adequately trained? NO!! Because of what they saw. They saw a man brutally beaten be laid in a tomb – dead. Then they saw that same man standing before them, with flesh they could touch. A resurrection changes our lives. Changes priorities. Changes our view of suffering. Changes everything!
You must start at Jerusalem. Man – Jesus is being pretty bossy here, isn’t he? You must do this and this. I love his command to start at Jerusalem. It’s where they were at the moment. It’s where all the action had just gone down. It’s where people would be able to connect with the story the most. Just start – right where you are. Start inviting people to change. Start telling them about what you saw!
You must preach these things. What things? Well – the list is probably pretty long. Teach them about the forgiveness he won on the cross. Teach them about how he calls people to follow him and be changed by him.
Wow. He’s really handing out the instructions here, isn’t he? You must wait in Jerusalem. Why? Because they can’t do it alone. They’re job of witnessing and preaching needs some help. They need the power of the Holy Spirit. Without Him they will not succeed.
Resurrection Ministries, we must:
- Continue to see Jesus. Before programs, budgets, buildings and schedules (and about 20 billion other things) we must see Jesus.
- Witness about what we see. It’s not enough to just see Jesus. We must speak about what we see in scripture. We must speak about how God is inviting us to follow him and how he is changing us. We must speak about how we see God moving in the world.
- Invite people to be changed by Jesus. A lot of things happen throughout life that change us. But get this: when Jesus changes us – we become unshakable!
- Start where you are. What is the circle that you do life with? You might have a few different circles – that don’t really overlap. Pick one. Invest. Get started.
- Wait (and pray). We must continue to pray that the Holy Spirit opens doors for us. We must continue to walk through them. We must trust in his power and timing and not ours.