The word of the day is…
μάρτυς, μάρτυρος, ο̒
Classical Greek, mārtūs, mārtūros, ho, 1. (etymologically) one who is mindful, heeds 2. a witness, someone who says what he himself has seen or heard or known by any other means. This includes three separate senses: a. a legal sense b. a historical sense and c. a moral sense, often taking on the idea of “martyr”, where the testimony provided has proven the genuineness of faith (information provided by Thayer’s Lexicon)
Then he said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me by Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must all come true.” Then he opened their minds to understand these many Scriptures. And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise again from the dead on the third day. With my authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: `There is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to me.’ You are witnesses of all these things.“And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”Luke 24:44-49 (NLT)
Yesterday we talked about remembering as well. But yesterday, memory brought fear. In today’s text, memory brings purpose and power. Jesus has risen from the dead, and shown himself to many of his previous followers. Jesus saw revealing himself in scripture as a priority, so they would understand exactly what was going on, his purpose for them, and the power he wanted to provide them. He wants to be clear. He had always intended to suffer and die. He had always intended to rise again. Now, they had a mission. Jesus had brought forgiveness and a new hope for his friends to walk in. And he tells them that they are witnesses to this fact.
Jesus reminded them of the scriptures so that they could find greater confidence in what he had done and what he was going to now do. He tells them that he is going to send the spirit, the promise of the Father. They will be filled with greater power so that they might accomplish God’s purpose. That will start in Jerusalem, but as we see today, is an unbounded mission to all people.
We still live in this power. It is the Holy Spirit living within us that gives us the strength to combat temptation, flee from sin, awake to love, provide justice and hope, and cling to Christ through every circumstance. God raised Christ so that he could send the spirit, empowering us to really live for Him, through Him, in Him.
So that’s Easter. Giving God glory for our risen savior, for God’s great love that motivated him to save us when we were off on a wayward path, with no intention of seeking God; for the power to serve him in the way he desires – not out of a strict adherence to “the rulebook”, but out of a personal and powerful connection to God himself.
We are witnesses of these things.