Saturday, December 5, 2009

“And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.” (Acts 7.58)

New Testament Challenge, Day 21 – Acts 7-10

As we continue our theme of being witnesses we are reminded that it can be either holy or evil that we are witnesses. The holiness comes when we respond for the glory of God while evil comes when we are complacent to the evil done by others. Saul (Paul) was a witness to the stoning of St. Stephen and while he did not actually participate in the stoning he shares in the guilt of the act by standing idle while others kill. How many times do we find ourselves “minding our own business” when others are sinning around us? If we choose to sit idle then it can be said of us just as it was said of Saul, “Now Saul was consenting to his death.” (Acts 8.1)

On the contrary, a holy example of witness is also expressed in today’s reading. Saul responded to his calling by the Lord with bold teaching and preaching in the synagogues, but the Church was afraid of him because of his reputation as a persecutor of the Church. “But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.” (Acts 9.27) Here holy witness gets involved for the glory of God and defends Paul to the others. If it weren’t for Barnabas’ bearing witness of Saul, the Church may not have embraced him. “So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out.” (Acts 9.28)

We have a free choice every day to either be witnesses by sitting idle to others’ sinful acts or using our witness for the glory of God and lifting up those who believe in Christ and have repented for their sinful behavior. We have a free choice to allow God to use our witness for the Gospel of Christ as He used Peter’s witness to Cornelius (Acts 10) when He sends others to us to hear the word of God.

Which will you choose?

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