We announce to you what existed from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have seen and our hands handled, about the word of life. The life was revealed, and we have seen, and we testify and announce to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us. What we have seen and heard, we also announce it to you so that you can have fellowship with us. Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
— 1 John 1:1-3 (CEB)
John is often described as the apostle of love. The Epistles 1, 2, and 3 of John are considered love letters of the New Testament. But these letters are far from sentimentalism. They are about tough love, love that shoots straight, even if it hurts, because it cares for others and wishes them the best. John informs us on discerning genuine Christianity. John claims that there is a core truth to our belief that Jesus has come in the flesh. The practice of love and righteousness is the test of whether only truly believers are followers Jesus. The Apostle John was part of the inner circle of three who stayed with Jesus even when the others were absent. John is known as the one for whom Jesus had a special affection and who was “reclining next to him” at the Last Supper, John 13:23. John earned his early nickname, Boanerges, “Son of Thunder” in Mark 3. Being a witness of your faith in Jesus requires spending time with the Lord.
What exactly does it mean to be a witness? Many people associate this term with street evangelism. However, a witness is one who has had a first hand experience – an eyewitness experience, and knows beyond a shadow of doubt their subject. What else then is needed for someone to be an effective ambassador for Christ? You must be aware of challenges but never lose the ideal of what motivates you to keep on going which is your love for Christ. Above all be a good listener! You may be the first to hear their story; thus, have an opportunity to encourage them in the Lord.
What are the basic elements to communicating Christ to others? You must be a credible witness. Be trustworthy always abounding in God’s truth. A person who will tell their story of God’s saving Grace. For example: when did you accept Christ as your Savior? To testify of Christ living in you, you must have had a personal encounter with Him. Your experience with Jesus equals effective witness. Your Testimony will grow through knowledge and experience with Christ.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
— Corinthians 15:3-4
Lord Jesus we lift your people up to you today and ask that you lead them and guide as they go out to be your witnesses in our community. Protect them from all hurt, harm, and danger.
This column is the opinion of Rev. Gracie Jackson of Grace Community Mission in Eagle River.