Bearing Witness
Luke 24:48
And you are witnesses of these things.

These brief words, "Ye are witnesses," being among the very last which Jesus spoke to his apostles, must have lingered in their ear for the rest of their life. In moments of doubt, or of depression, or of danger, the remembrance that their Lord and Leader had charged them (o be his witnesses may well have stirred and strengthened them to fresh courage and to renewed activity. They are words that may well stimulate us also to duty and self-sacrifice.

I. THE UNIQUE SERVICE RENDERED BY THE APOSTLES. They were witnesses of "those things," the greatest things that were ever seen and ever attested in the history of mankind; things they were on the full and true statement of which, on the cordial and practical acceptance of which, depended the life and the hope of the world. They could face all with whom they came in contact, and declare that they saw with their own eyes, heard with their own ears, witnessed in their own persons:

1. A perfectly beautiful, a spotless human life, in which, though they saw it under all possible circumstances and when under least constraint or reserve, they could find no flaw at all (1 Peter 2:22).

2. Works of power, which were invariably works of pity and of kindness, of such a nature that there was no possibility of mistake.

3. Words of truth and grace such as mortal lips had never spoken, and such as met the deepest wants of man's hungering heart, of his yearning and aspiring soul.

4. Sufferings and sorrows beyond what others knew, borne with a patience that was sublime.

5. A death undergone in shame and pain, amid natural wonders and with more than human nobility.

6. A glorious resurrection from the grave.

7. A message of mercy and hope to be delivered to all mankind in the name of this great Teacher, Healer, Sufferer, Conqueror.


1. We also can testify, in word, to "these things." We leave, and are content to leave, some mysteries which belong to the Christian faith; we do not try, as we need not try, either to explain or to understand them. But "these things," which the world needs to know for its inward peace and its true prosperity, we can speak. We are familiar with the holy and beautiful life of Jesus Christ. We know the thought, we "have the mind of Christ" on all the deepest and highest subjects with which our character and our destiny are bound up. We are conversant with the sufferings and the sorrows of the Saviour; for the story of his Passion is better known by us than any other history whatsoever - it is not only in our memory, it is in our heart. We can speak of his death and of his triumph over the grave. We know well what is the message of truth and grace he desires to be declared to the whole world. We can speak of him and for him.

2. And we can find an audience. There are many who will not listen to us, but there are those who will. The young, who have a spirit of docility and inquiry; the sick and the sad, to whom "the consolation which is in Christ" is the one thing that heals and calms; the poor, to whom the pearl of great price is welcome, and who are willing to be made "rich toward God;" the disappointed and the weary, who are glad to know of One who can give "rest unto the soul;" - these will receive our testimony.

3. We can bear the best and truest witness of the life. What men want to be convinced of is that Christianity is a living power; that it not only has very fine sentiments to teach - these can be found elsewhere - but that it is a moral and spiritual power that can save the lost, can cleanse the foul, can soften the hard-hearted, can humble the proud, can arouse the indifferent and obtuse, can infuse cheerfulness and joy into the heart of the poor and lowly, can give rest of spirit to those who are encompassed by the cares of time, can fill the soul with tender sympathy and prompt to generous and self-denying succour, can substitute a forgiving for a vindictive spirit in the wronged, can enable its possessors to gain a victory over themselves and over the world and to crown a victorious life by a death of calm tranquillity and joyful hope. Here is scope for witness-bearing; and, as every Christian man has the truth of Christ on which to feed, the example of Christ to follow, and the Holy Spirit of Christ to whom to look for his indwelling power, it is open to every disciple to be a witness, whose testimony shall be valuable on earth and acceptable in heaven. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And ye are witnesses of these things.

WEB: You are witnesses of these things.

The Solemn Charge
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