Acts 1:8 (ESV)
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
When I was in high school and college, I had to give speeches. Everybody did. Some speeches were better than others. You could always tell who had taken a speech class, because their speeches were just better. I was never that good, because I had never learned the art of delivering a speech.
That’s what it is. Delivering a speech is an art form that takes years of experience and training. A good speech is one that draws the audience in so they are interested in the topic. It must be ordered properly. It must be logical and interesting. The speaker should be prepared, confident, and even convincing. These things make giving a good speech so difficult. It’s what makes public speaking difficult and fear inducing for so many people.
And now Jesus wants us to talk about our faith? That’s what he says here. He told his disciples (and us too!) that this is who we are. We are witnesses of who he is and what he has done. We are his witnesses here, there, and everywhere. We’re supposed to talk about Jesus and share our faith?
But what will we say?
How will we say it?
How will we know what to say?
Will people listen?
Will they agree with what we’ve got to say?
Jesus doesn’t ask us to figure that out. Being a witness is not at all like delivering a speech.
Did you notice what he says? First, there is this amazing promise that we’ll receive power when the Holy Spirit comes. Jesus is promising here, and in other places, that he’ll give us the Holy Spirit so that we’re confident, so that we have words.
Then, he says, “You will be witnesses.” Jesus isn’t asking us to say it just right or to win the argument. Jesus isn’t asking us to put together a “good speech.” Jesus isn’t even asking to convince anybody about anything. He’s asking us to be witnesses. A witness doesn’t have to convince. A witness has to tell the story. It is the job of the attorney to do the convincing. Jesus is asking us to tell the world about the good things that He’s done. His Holy Spirit will do the rest.
You are the witness. Witnessing is not like giving a speech. It’s simply telling the story of Jesus. This is who you are. The Holy Spirit will be with you.
Dear Lord, thank you for Your Holy Spirit. Remind us that we are your witnesses and all you ask us to do is share the message. You will give us the words. You will give us the confidence. And You will do good things through the Word we share; You promise it. Make us Your witness in all that we do and say today. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.