Photo Credit: Destiny Christian Center
Just this past week I had the privilege of being in a gathering where pastors Brion Hamlett and Cliff Jordan called us to pray. The focus was racial reconciliation and bringing together our city in a unity only God could accomplish. Once, while Brion was speaking, he said to us, “Can I get a witness?!”
Can I get a witness…
That came to mind again this morning while reading from the Gospel of Luke (the 22nd chapter).
For those of us who have closely searched out and studied the life of Christ, this is the account of his last meal with his disciples and what followed. Jesus was trying to prepare these beloved friends and followers of what was ahead. Peter, one of his closest disciples said he would follow him to prison, or even to death.
Then Jesus said to Peter, in a prophetic word, that he would actually deny even knowing him three times before the rooster crowed the next morning.
The many details that play out after this can be found in Luke 22. For now, if you don’t already know, later that night, Jesus was taken into custody by the religious leaders. He was put through a sham of a trial, and was cruelly beaten and mocked. During all that, Peter stayed close but without any words…except those he would use to deny knowing Jesus…the One he called Lord but a few hours before.
Where would Jesus’ witness come from if not from those closest to him?
They [the chief priests] led him [Jesus] away to their council, and they said, “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I ask you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.” – Luke 22:66c-71
Jesus took the words of the unbelieving religious leaders and turned them into a witness to Himself…to His being the Son of God…in fact, the “I AM”…the one true God.
Within this last week of his earthly life, Jesus would experience great adulation by the crowds in Jerusalem and great isolation with only those who hated him in attendance. Earlier in that week, with these same men possibly, Jesus had this conversation:
As He approached the descent from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of disciples began to praise God joyfully in a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” But some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples!” “I tell you,” He answered, “if they remain silent, the very stones will cry out.” – Luke 19:37-40
The day the rooster crowed, Jesus’ friend Peter would be silent. No witness. Jesus would die. Not for lack of a true witness or because of a false one. He would die because He came to do so. To close the chasm between sinful humanity and the one holy and true God.
His life, death, and resurrection are the foundation of our faith as Christians. We are witnesses…to the historical Jesus and to the redemptive work He has done and continues to do in our lives.
Peter would repent with deep sorrow his denial of Christ. He would then become the Spirit-filled rock upon which the church would be built. I dare say, he was never silent again.
Where do we go from here? As I read Luke 22 this morning, my own heart was deeply convicted of the silence in my own testimony of who Jesus is and what He has done for me and for all humanity.
God, help me to be faithful to the truth of who You are…before rocks are stirred to cry out in my place.
I would leave the house this morning…turning over and over in my mind both this Scripture passage and the phrase “Can I get a witness?”
Can I get a witness?