Advent – I was there!
“and for many days he was seen by those who had travelled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.”
The fourth part of the gospel message for the early church: death, tomb, resurrection and now witnesses!
That first century saw many witnesses able to communicate their experiences of a risen Jesus. Luke who is writing the book of Acts keeps coming back to the same thing: witnesses. Since his first sentence, “In my former book Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach” Luke has been referring continually to the fact that there were witnesses.
At the first advent there were many witnesses and we can name every character in the nativity scene and the journey towards it and from it. We even know some characters that somehow have appeared in there but the Bible doesn’t mention them!
What good is a dead witness? All these characters are gone now. It must have been great to live in the days when you can hear the story from one of the witnesses: Listen, I was there, this is what happened!
However there is one witness who was there and who is still very much alive and Luke is the one who writes of Him. Luke likes his witnesses as we now know!
Let me embolden the person so you can spot Him:
Luke 1: 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” …39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit….59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” … 67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
Luke 2: 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:”
We can be so grateful that the one witness who is still alive is alive in us!
If there is one thing that the Spirit would want to say to you as you journey through advent it is this: “I was there! I was at work. I made things happen. I directed the journeys of the witnesses. In fact I was more involved then has been recorded! (That’s just my imaginative thinking!)”
“I was the power that conceived Christ within Mary. I was filling lives. I was revealing messages. I was moving people into the right places. I was there.”
Just slow everything down now. Before you do another thing. Pause. Breathe. God who is in you, the Holy Spirit, witnessed the whole story of the coming of Christ.
The Holy Spirt witnesses not by reminding you of the story rather He works the story of Christmas into your life so that you are continually changed by it. May He work that story in you again and again and as He does you will live your life in such a way that it will appear you were a witness to the event.