“You are witnesses of these things.”

Luke 24:48 

Friday, 23 April 2021

Luke 24:35-48

After speaking words of peace and opening the minds of his disciples so that they understand the scriptures, Jesus tells them that they are witnesses “of these things”.

Faith in Jesus and his resurrection depended on the witness of his disciples. It was the credibility of their lives that would draw others to believe in Jesus and grow the Christian community.

Notice the remarkable change in the disciples – from being locked up in fear in the upper room to boldly proclaiming the good news of the resurrection to “all nations beginning from Jerusalem”. The whole of the Acts of the Apostles (which we read in this Easter season) is an account of how the disciples witnessed to Jesus and brought others to faith in him. Their encounter with Jesus impelled them to go and tell others about what they had experienced. But they did more than tell. They witnessed with their lives – even when it meant hardship and imprisonment!

This is perhaps, for us, the hardest part of being Christian. Our faith is made credible by the way we choose to live our lives. So often, people find it hard to believe in the risen Christ because they see that believers words and actions are not congruent, that we do not live the faith that we profess.

A lot of damage is done when people who profess faith in Jesus speak words of judgement and condemnation, when doctrine or dogma is used to beat them. Notice that Jesus never judges or condemns his slow-to-believe disciples. He only speaks words of peace and encouragement. He accompanies them and helps them to see that he has risen indeed. This sets their hearts on fire and they go and witness to others – and that witness costs many of them their lives.

Take time today to honestly reflect on the quality of your witness to Jesus. Are you a credible witness in word and deed? How might you witness even better to the Lord from today? For the times you may have discredited the risen Jesus in word and action, ask the Lord for forgiveness.

Risen Jesus,

Help me, in word and deed, to be a credible witness to you.

I pray that the witness of my life will bring others to faith in you, just as the lives of your disciples did.

For the times my life has discredited you, forgive me.

Amen.

 
Fr Russell Pollitt SJ

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ is the Director of the Jesuit Institute and is interested in the impact that communications technology has on society and spirituality. He regularly comments on South African Politics and various issues in the Catholic Church.

director@jesuitinstitute.org.za @rpollittsj
See more from Russell Pollitt SJ
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