Here are some thoughts on the idea of evangelism.
When I saw the title/theme for this piece, I heard in my mind Bonnie Raitt singing “Can I get a witness?” Marvin Gaye first recorded it with a Gospel harmony in 1963.
This song is not a traditional Gospel song nor would it be sung in a church setting, but it does echo the call of many pastors to bring forth those who can speak to the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
A witness is one who can describe what occurred at some place or at some point in time. Eyewitness testimonies are not always accurate. The Old Testament required two or more witnesses to give testimony.
There are those today who say that Christianity is false or based on a myth.
Our duty is not to make people believe in Christ but to show how His presence in our lives has changed our lives and saved us from a life that ends in slavery to sin and death. People want proof. In the days following Easter and the Resurrection, Thomas refused to believe others unless he could touch Jesus and feel the wounds in Jesus’ hands and feet. And when he saw, he believed.
Jesus said that there would be countless others in the future who would believe because of what others would do and not because they could see the resurrected Jesus as Thomas did.
When we accept Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit changes our lives, it is what we do that shows others around us that the change has taken place. Each generation receives the power of the Holy Spirit from the previous generation and passes it onto the next (think of the song, “Pass It On”).
You cannot command others to believe; rather you must show them through the deeds and actions of believers. It isn’t enough to say that we are Christians; it is what do in the name of Christ that will convince them. What makes us seek the Lord and accept Him as our personal Savior?
And when Jesus told Thomas that others would come to believe because of the actions of others, we understand that Jesus was speaking of what we should do today and tomorrow.
My journey with Christ began when I was a freshman in high school. On Saturday mornings, two friends and I met with our pastor for Bible study to prepare for confirmation. In addition to Saturday mornings we also had to serve as acolytes on Sunday mornings.
But the journey did not end after that year of study and service. First, ten individuals, who had watched us for that year, decided there must be something to what we were doing and they began the process of study and service. I do not know what happened to my two friends or the ten that followed us. All a witness for Christ can really ever do is show the way; each person who follows has to make their choices.
After some twenty years I came to realize that my life really had changed and that I needed to be doing things that showed the change in my life. This changed the direction of my life.
And so I now pass onto you what I hear, not just as a song on the radio or a call from the pulpit, but the words of Christ to be a witness, to show by not only by my words but by deeds and service, to the next generation, to invite them to accept Christ as their Savior.
So Jesus today asks, “Can I get a witness?”