My memory verse this week:
"I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - I lay down my life for the sheep." -- John 10:14-15
NTC Day 55 John 19-20 and 2 Peter 1-2
Eye-witnesses. When a news team hears of a hot news item, they send reporters and cameras. The cameras get stuck in the faces of eye-witnesses, and reporters ask them to tell what they saw and heard. Lawyers who have eye-witness testimonies have stronger cases. In order for us to believe something, we need to see it for ourselves or hear from people who saw it.
Today's readings were all about eye-witness testimonies. John explains what Pilate did and said. Pilate tried to save Jesus. He didn't think he was guilty, and his superstitions about who Jesus was frightened him. But, because the Jewish leaders were crafty, and used clever words to defend their decision, Pilate seemed to have no choice but to have Jesus crucified.
John describes what happened to Jesus those last hours from the point of view of someone who was there. He saw Jesus struggle to carry his own cross. He saw the soldiers drawing lots for his clothing. Be saw Jesus drink the sour wine from the sponge. He heard Jesus direct him to take care of his mother. He heard his last words, "It is finished."
John also felt is was important to tell of another eye-witness. A soldier took a spear and pierced the side of Jesus. Blood and water came pouring out, proving that Jesus really was dead. This proved prophecies that Jesus would be pierced. This soldier testified to what he saw. John felt it important to tell of this incident, as if proving that it wasn't just him telling of what he saw and heard. Multiple witnesses seeing the same things strengthen a case.
Peter also was with Jesus during his ministry. He was witness to Jesus returning from the dead. He saw and experiences these incidents...these miracles...and wanted to tell others, the first church, about what he saw so they too would believe.
We have the words of John and Peter thousands of years later, as well as testimonies of many others. There are many historical records outside of the Bible that corroborate their words. While there is no way for us to have witnessed these things, we have written, eye-witness accounts of them, giving us proof of their truth.
But, it takes faith for us to really believe them...to really believe that an innocent man who healed many, and taught about a loving and caring God, was brutally crucified for our sins. It takes faith in something we can't see...a risen Savior who died and rose again for us, thousands of years later. We can read testimonies from those who were there to reinforce our beliefs, but God works in our hearts and gives us the ability to believe and have faith in something so outlandish as a God who saves.
We can be eye-witnesses to what this faith does in our lives. Eye-witnesses tell their stories. Tell someone what God has done for you. Tell someone how your belief in Christ has made a difference in your life. This is what John and Peter led us to do. They gave us their eye-witness accounts and now it is up to us to strengthen the case for Christ by telling our stories as well.