Love Your Neighbor - A 30-Day Devotional Journey

DAY 25

WITNESSES

By Randy Petersen, American Bible Society

Pray

Lord, thank you for the life-changing power of your Word. Help me to obey your Word, so that my ways may please you and lead others to you.

Read

ACTS 1:6–8

When the apostles met together with Jesus, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time give the Kingdom back to Israel?”

Jesus said to them, “The times and occasions are set by my Father’s own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be. But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Reflect

You can’t blame them for asking the question. The disciples had just gone through a crash course on the kingdom of God—forty days of intensive instruction with their resurrected leader. “Enough about treasures in fields and merchants with pearls, Jesus! Tell us plainly: Is this when the revolution finally begins? Is this when we take power?”

As usual, Jesus answered more than the question asked. Would there be
a revolt against the Roman oppressors? Not just yet. But there would be a worldwide upheaval beginning right here in Jerusalem. These disciples might not take power by force, but they would receive it by faith.

The Jerusalem-Judea statement of Jesus could be seen as a strategic game plan, with concentric circles on a map eventually covering the whole world. But there’s an outlier. Samaria was more than just the next country over. It was
the place of the outcasts, the half-breeds, the heretics. For racial and religious reasons, Jews did not have dealings with Samaritans. And yet, from the start of the Christian mission, they were an integral part of the game plan.

We need to remember this in our own outreach efforts. Who are the Samaritans for us? What people groups do we generally avoid? What groups scare us? What people do we look down on? These are the very people to whom we will communicate the reality of our risen Lord.

“You will be witnesses for me,” Jesus said. That’s a courtroom word, then and now. A witness does not seek to persuade, cajole, preach, or dazzle. A witness tells the truth about what he or she has experienced.

As we seek to share God’s love with KC and the whole region, truth-telling is our task. We’re not selling time-shares here. We’re sharing reality. We don’t need to prove that we’re right and everyone else is wrong. We just need to tell the truth about Jesus and what he has done for us.

Respond

Who is in the “Samaritan” area for you? Are there individuals or groups you generally avoid? How can you show them God’s love?

Closing Prayer

Lord, fill me with the power to exude your love to those around me. Help me testify truly about what you’ve done for me.