“Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”
These words spoken Peter, to the approximately 120 believers following Jesus ascension back to heaven contain a powerful challenge for us even though we live some 2000 years later. It is a challenge that I have read often yet it was in my latest reading of this first chapter of Acts that the reason for choosing someone to replace Judas stood out in a very powerful way.
Matthias who was chosen and was added to the 11 because it was a ‘must’ that he should become a ‘witness with us of his (Jesus’) resurrection’.
This causes me to ask the question why have I, by the grace of God, been added to the number of believers and although there are many answers to that question the key one, based on this passage, seems to be that I might be a witness to Jesus’ resurrection.
Surely it is a different level of witness to that of the Apostles for they had seen Jesus with their own eyes; they had seen his death and resurrection first hand; they had been present when he ascended from the Mount of Olives with the promise of his return one day, whereas my witness is faith based not sight based but is nonetheless absolutely sure and certain.
The challenge of this is summed up in the question ‘Is this an internalised and purely personal thing or is it meant to be obvious and visible in my daily living?’ Hard at times as it is to do it, it seems clear that it is the latter. For had the early believers internalised this dramatic truth where would I be today? But they did not take that line, and we find frequent, public witness to the fact that Jesus was raised from the dead.
Today in an increasingly secular and indeed, anti-Christian world it is therefore imperative that we who are believers bear witness to his resurrection. If such witness does nothing else it may cause people to think, for the rationalistic mid-set of many cannot accept that such a thing is possible. It is therefore a discussion starter, particularly perhaps with younger people who know nothing of the gospel accounts and is a way in to speaking of Jesus.
Such openings are often hard to find so let us speak often of the resurrection.
Older readers of this blog may remember the series of Argus Motivational Posters in the 60s and 70s. I recall one which read as follows:
We are an Easter People and Resurrection is our song.
It may sound a bit twee to modern ears but are we singing (and speaking) Jesus’ Resurrection whenever and wherever we can.
It could be a way in to meaningful conversation!