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"You are witnesses"

July 4, 2023

Daily Scripture

Luke 24:44-48

44 Jesus said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law from Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. 46 He said to them, “This is what is written: the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and a change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Jesus, with his disciples after the crucifixion and resurrection, taught them to reflect on Israel’s history to find their ongoing mission. Jesus charged the disciples to preach the story of repentance and forgiveness of sins. He opened the disciples’ minds to see the big picture: that their history as a people, from Moses to the Psalms, said that in the Christ (“the anointed one”) there is salvation and justice. They were to preach to all nations the life found in his resurrection.

  • Jesus did not give the disciples an optional task (“if you feel like it, and it’s convenient in your day’s schedule”). Rather, he commissioned them—gave them a mandate or command to be witnesses of God’s work in the world. What do you need to do in your life to more fully take on Jesus’ mission to share his hope and forgiveness with the people around you?
  • Your personal story of a changed heart and life can be more powerful to the non-religious and nominally religious people you interact with wherever you live, work, or play than any abstract or intellectual claim. You, like the disciples, are a witness to God’s redemptive work through Jesus Christ. In what ways can you share your personal story of a changed heart and life with those around you?

God, keep me alert for chances to faithfully share the story of your son’s life, death, burial, and resurrection. Give me courage when afraid, confidence when unsure, passion when indifferent. May I make you proud as I share my personal story of a changed heart and life. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Michelle Kirby

Michelle Kirby

Michelle currently serves on the Resurrection Experience Team as the Creative Content Development Lead Director where she provides leadership for managing creative design projects churchwide.

This past January I had the opportunity to lead a group of women on a trip to the Holy Land. A trip to the Holy Land involves a lot of preparation. We had two meetings before the trip to answer basic logistical and practical questions. What should I pack, what types of food will we be eating, what will the weather be like, is it safe to be there… those sorts of things.

It’s interesting that before such a trip, these are the questions that fill people’s minds. All of the preparation. Of course, being prepared allows us to set aside those practical details so that we can focus our attention on the bigger thing—that is experiencing the places where Jesus lived, taught, healed, died, and was resurrected.

At our pre-trip meetings, I asked everyone, “What are you looking forward to seeing and experiencing on this trip?” As you would expect, there were a variety of answers and very valid responses.

On the trip we did experience a vast array of things. Sitting on the very steps that Jesus would have walked up going to the Temple, being out on a boat on the Sea of Galilee and seeing with our mind’s eye Jesus speaking with his followers—seeing the very places where he called his disciples, where he delivered the Sermon on the Mount, where he multiplied the fishes and loaves, or where he walked carrying his cross on the Via Dolorosa. So powerful, so meaningful, so life changing.

As we ended our trip, I reframed the question I had asked at our pre-trip meeting. “What did you come to the Holy Land to see?” The answers were different this time. Much deeper than just seeing places (which were very cool) and more profound.

Our conclusion was—without realizing it before the trip, we were going to be a witness. To witness things that we’d read about, been taught about, been inspired by—but to also see and touch these places for ourselves. We also recognized that there’s a responsibility to being a witness. A witness shares about what they’ve seen and does the things that they’ve learned to do.

But here’s the thing. While going to the Holy Land is truly an amazing experience, one doesn’t need to visit the Holy Land to be a witness to what God is doing in the world. Opportunity surrounds us. And like with the Holy Land trip, there’s a responsibility that comes with being a witness—we share.

I have the great joy of working this summer with our interns and am constantly inspired and challenged by these incredible college students. Our weekly meetings follow along with our sermon series and our topic last week was about sharing. The conclusion we came to was this: It’s not so much that we HAVE to share or even that we SHOULD share. Rather, we GET to share and be witnesses to what God is doing in the world and in our lives.

Our interns have shared about conversations they’ve had with friends who are on the outside of faith, friends who are struggling—and they’ve given very thoughtful, empathetic and hope-filled responses, encouraging their friends to seek help and solace from God. The interns understand the responsibility of being witnesses. We can learn a lot from them and remember that we too GET to share and be a witness to God’s goodness and hope in the world.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.