“...and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood—and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 1:5–6, NAS95)
What a summary statement about Jesus: “the faithful witness”! Jesus lived as a faithful witness to the presence of God and His kingdom. He spoke of it incessantly. John, the apostle, who writes this verse, also lived as a faithful witness because He imitated Jesus, knew the Father and invited others into fellowship with the Father and the Son—to the community of the called-out ones, saints.
For me, what Jesus, then John, then many others testified about concerned the presence of God with us as One who loves and invites to friendship. God remains incessant in that invitation through Jesus’ faithful representation of that love through forgiveness of those who respond to Him.
As I meditated on this, I wondered, what does it mean, “faithful witness”? In that moment, I heard Jesus making incessant reference to the One from whom all reality derives, to His Father and His Kingdom, which has ultimate and final import. Yet, people miss this because God and His Kingdom appear invisible to them, unless we witness to it with words. Jesus did that and transformed people’s understanding of God. He represented Him as lover, as an advocate for life and for our best. They came in droves.
To His death on the cross Jesus remained the faithful witness, continually speaking of the Father’s love: “Today, you’ll be with Me in paradise” and “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus witnessed to the invisible One’s love and heart for those who were far from Him in order to draw them near. He made the invisible visible for those who listened, revealing the Father who loves, forgives and embraces those who hear. The Father can do nothing but love, and Jesus faithfully witnessed to that in word and deed.
Jesus has done this incessantly for me. His love continually touches my heart’s deepest spaces. I can be brought to tears in His presence. I am most comfortable with Him. I am glad He is here. I carry deep gratitude that He is the God who actually does exist. I am actually very proud of Him. I hope I can somehow imitate His faithful witness to those with whom my life comes into contact. Silence can’t speak to the pleasure I carry in knowing Him. Father, help me imitate Jesus’ faithful witness to the world!
Warmly in Christ, Doug Mitts
“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalm 23:6, NAS95)
How do you feel about God in the deepest places of your heart? What emotions arise?
What spiritual disciplines help you cultivate a desire to be a faithful witness as Jesus was?