Can I get a witness?

Acts 3:12-19

3:12 When Peter saw it, he addressed the people, "You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk?

They were freaking out that God healed a man through the Apostles…this really makes Jesus something!

It further confirms the Lordship of Jesus…the King of the Jews.  His power has passed on to his disciples!

3:13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him.

3:14 But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, 3:15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.  3:16 And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.

3:17 "And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers.  3:18 In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer.

3:19 Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, and times of refreshing may come from the Lord…

This is pretty amazing.  This speech is incredible given that it is Peter.  You remember Peter right?  Peter, who when Jesus was being tried denied Jesus, Peter who was put to shame by a little girl.

How did that Peter, so ready to save his own neck, become this Peter, willing to speak in the Temple, risking his life, telling the Jews they had killed their Messiah, calling them to repent?  How is it that the man who was crippled by accusations of being a Jesus follower now proclaim the Kingdom of God in such a way that the crippled can walk?

What has happened?

I want to fill in the blanks a bit.

At the end of Luke, Jesus reveals himself as the resurrected Lord of Lord and King of Kings.  The disciples meet him and are astonished.  He tells them to wait for the Helper, the Holy Spirit who will come upon them and when He does, they will have power to be His witnesses.

So at the end of our passage in Luke Jesus says you are witnesses of these things meaning Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

I want to take a look at that statement in light of what is going on.

The idea of a witness has a couple of components.

There is information and transformation. Information is telling of facts, what you saw, what you heard etc;  transformation is the sharing of how you were changed by what happened.  You are relaying how what you observed and experienced impacted you.

So Jesus is saying the disciples are witness to the things that have happened but also changed by it.  Does that make sense?

So when Peter addresses the crowds in Acts 2 and 3 he does that very thing.  He tells some facts and also shares his transformation which ends up in the healing of the crippled man who is now clinging on to him in the Temple, a place he could not previously enter because of his condition.  So Peters witness allows people the information for their sins to be forgiven and the experience of Jesus by His Spirit healing others.

Amazing.  This is a guy who ran from a little girl!

Ground Zero happened.  Peter met the risen Lord.  He ate fish with him, spoke to Him and recognized His Kingship.  Peter was changed.  Ground Zero had happened and now the impossible was possible, life was altered, sin is conquered even death was meaningless because Jesus had risen from the dead.

Further, Jesus said to the disciples to wait for what the Father has promised to come.  In a few short days the Holy Spirit was poured out on them and they had the power to witness!  The same power that Christ had, resurrection power, was given to them!  Ground Zero had not just an outward effect but an inward effect as well!  It wasn’t simply about what you would do or say but who you would become in light of God acting in human history.

This is how Peter does what he does.  This is how Peter became who he became.  As a matter of fact it is said that he was willing to be crucified upside down and not recant his faith.  He was forever changed.  It didn’t just change him, it changed the others as well.  In fact, people were changed so much, they didn’t worry about money.  They were willing to sell their stuff and share it with others!  This isn’t just the 10 percent, they understood that all they had was His anyway!

So we know how Peter the rock, went from running from a little girl to an incredible witness for Risen Lord.

It begs the question.  What does life at Ground Zero look like for us?

I don’t know about you but I have never had fish with Jesus.  Plus seeing a dead person alive would blow my mind like it did the disciples and I may never recover.  But the same power and opportunity given to the disciples exists for us today.  We have access to God, the same way the crippled man had access to the Temple.

We who were crippled can now have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, but one that is filled with power and times of refreshing as we repent and believe in Christ.  The crippled man who was now clinging to Peter as he shared has his own witness and this is how it goes.

Because of the witness of the disciples people came to faith.  Because people came to faith others came to faith.  Because others came to faith the person who shared Jesus with you came to faith.  You and I are now the latest witnesses.  We are to be the ones to carry on the message of information and show people transformation!  Because of us, others will come to faith and it will carry on!

So how are we to do that? Christianity is not primarily a faith based on information but a tapestry of lives woven together that reveal a portrait of the King of Kings.

In the power of the Holy Spirit, we live our lives for Him by Him and in Him.  We become immersed in Christ and he begins to change us.  We become different.  Revealing this to people without words is important and also sharing it with our mouths is important.

Paul says in Romans 10.14-15… How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!

Times of refreshing come as we repent and bring the Good News to those around us. We are changed and bear witness to the change.

Now people are often afraid of being a witness. Some have to be dragged into court with an order because they don’t want to witness or when they do they plead the 5th so they don’t have to speak. This can’t be the case with Christ followers.

It is actually our primary responsibility to be witnesses!

Common objections to being a witness...

  •  I am not sure what to say…tell your story, what did you observe or what            happened to you…it’s your story, you can’t screw that up

  • They won’t believe me…it isn’t about them, it is about you…the word Matures (witness) is where we get our word martyr, one who lays down their life for something they believe in. It may not result in physical death, but you will die to yourself.

  • I’m afraid…of rejection and many other things…Ask God to give you courage, he will.

We who were crippled need to share with those around us how we are being healed! We who could not access the Father can now enter the Holy of Holies, run into His presence with joy and thanksgiving! Is this not worth testifying about?

If you can tell people about a movie you saw, you can be a witness to Jesus’ work in your life.

We are all a witness of something. What are you a witness of? What could your life say about living at Ground Zero?

This was the sermon I gave last Sunday...thoughts?

© Bob Fabey