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Volume 27 - Page 163 of 212 Index | Zoom | |
heights of devoted service. No wonder that the Apostle blends such dignity and greatness
with so much humility.
Symbols of Service.
pp. 152 - 154
In the first chapter of the Acts we find the apostles gathered round the risen Lord.
They have been told to wait at Jerusalem until they have been endued with power from
on high. They have had the unique experience of continual fellowship with Him
throughout His earthly ministry. They have enjoyed a unique exposition of the O.T.
Scriptures "concerning Himself". And now, they await their commission. Out of all the
symbols of service that were at the disposal of the Lord, which will he select? We find
that he chooses an important title which we have not yet considered in this series:
"Ye shall receive power . . . . . ye shall be witnesses unto Me" (Acts 1: 8).
"Witnesses unto Me."--In these words the Lord indicates the basic significance of all
N.T. ministry. The Greek word for "witness" (martus) is translated three times "martyr"
and twice "record". The feminine form marturia is translated "record", "report",
"testimony", and "witness", and each of these words is used to translate the verb
martureo, "I witness". The fact that the word generally translated "witness" is also
translated "martyr" shows the inner meaning of all true witness.
Let us consider now the way in which the ministries of the apostles and others during
the Acts were closely linked up with "witnessing".
Immediately after the ascension, the apostles, together with the hundred and twenty,
take steps to fill the gap created by the fall of Judas. Matthias, who was numbered with
the eleven, possessed the essential qualification for all true witness--the ability to give
"Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that He was taken up from
us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection" (Acts 1: 22).
Matthias could say "I know", "I saw", "I heard", "I was there". Piety and
eloquence, learning and gift, may all be valuable adjuncts to witness-bearing, but none of
them would be of any value apart from personal testimony. The baptism of Pentecost did
not give these witnesses experiences to draw upon, but power to testify what they had
already seen and heard. Peter's address on the day of Pentecost reaches its climax when
he declares the fact of the resurrection of Christ, saying: "This Jesus hath God raised up,
whereof we all are witnesses" (Acts 2: 32). And again in connection with the healing of
the lame man: "Ye killed the Prince of Life, Whom God hath raised from the dead;
whereof we are witnesses" (Acts 3: 15).