|Theme:||Being a witness for Jesus. Third Sunday of Easter.|
|Scripture:||He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." Luke 24:46-48 (NIV)|
Do you know what a witness is? A witness is a person who testifies in court. It might be a person who has seen an accident, witnessed a crime, or is being asked to testify about the character of someone they know. They may be testifying because they volunteered to do so, or they may have received a court order requiring them to testify.
Even if you have never been a witness, you have probably seen movies or TV shows in which a person is called to the to the witness stand. (Ask one of the children to place his or her hand on the Bible as if they are testifying in court.) The witness may be asked to place his left hand on the Bible, raise his right hand and answer the question, "Do you swear that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" After answering, "Yes," the witness is asked questions about what he or she has seen or knows about the case that will help the jury to make a decision. If you are ever asked to testify in court, it is nothing to be worried or concerned about -- all you have to do is tell what you have seen or what you know to be true.
In our Bible lesson today, Jesus was talking to his disciples after he had been raised from the dead. The disciples still didn't quite understand the resurrection, and even though they could see him and were talking to him, they thought they might be talking to a ghost. They were even a little bit frightened.
"Why are you afraid and why do you have doubts in your mind?" Jesus asked them. "Look at my hands and my feet. Touch me. A ghost doesn't have flesh and bones as I do." Then he asked them, "Do you have anything to eat?" They gave him a piece of fish and he took it and ate it to prove to them that he was not a ghost. After all, a ghost doesn't eat food.
Jesus helped the disciples understand the Scriptures. He explained to them, "The Scriptures say that the Messiah must suffer, then three days later he will rise from death. They also say that all people of every nation must be told in my name to turn to God, in order to be forgiven of their sin. You're the first to hear and see it. You're the witnesses, you must tell everything that has happened.
Jesus has called you and me to be witnesses too. There is no reason for us to be afraid to testify. All Jesus wants us to do is to tell others what he has done for us. He wants us to tell others how he has changed our life and about how he died and was raised from the dead so that we could have eternal life.
How about it? Are you willing to take the witness stand for Jesus?
Heavenly Father, we are thankful that Jesus came to take away our sin and give us eternal life. Help us to be faithful witnesses about what he has done for us. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
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