When you think of a great preacher, who comes to your mind? What makes him outstanding and effective in your mind? Is it his skill in the delivery, his content, his illustrations or something else? Would you agree that preachers are often really good teachers, but skilled teachers are rarely thought of as preachers? While both of them need to be truthful, clear, enthusiastic, articulate and well versed in their subject matter, there are some qualities that are quite different. Can you think of what some of them might be?
Before Jesus left his disciples, he told them that they were to go and make disciples. He simply asked them to be His witnesses. The instructions were clear. The Holy Spirit would be given to them soon and then they would be empowered in a very special way to take the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. Some of them found themselves preaching in the synagogues wherever they traveled. Others spent time teaching small groups of believers and inquirers in or near their homes. Quite often they were defending their faith and reasoning with both the antagonists and the leaders of the opposition. But every day, wherever those disciples went, they were witnesses of the things that they had seen and heard and believed while Jesus was with them. Can you imagine what it might have been like to see the amazing results in the early days of the Christian church? In towns and villages, in the hearts of both the Jews and the Gentiles, the Holy Spirit’s presence and power was felt and the new message, calling individuals to repentance and faith in Jesus, was made known. That new message was all about having a relationship with the Son of God, Jesus.
Around the world today, there are still some disciples who are preaching the Good News and others who are teaching people the story of Jesus and His love, but all of us have the opportunity to share the story of our own faith journey. Who do you think might be ready to hear about the things that God has done for you – and can do for them, too?