Can I Get A Witness?
An 8-week study through the Book of Acts
The gospel arrives from the unlikeliest of places, in the unlikeliest of circumstances, to and from the unlikeliest of people. The following stories from the Book of Acts all show the gospel of Christ breaking through barriers and confounding expectations. This good news isn’t unlikely just because of the story it tells, but also because of what the story caused ordinary men and women to do in response.
The Burden of My Song
As you read and reflect on these stories, pay attention to these themes and reflect on what implications they have for anyone who leans on the name of Jesus:
"Well, something happened." One of the reasons that the books in the New Testament were chosen as canon is because they represented stories that had been backed up by the testimony of witnesses. Often, the witnesses were people who Jewish society of the day relegated to the margins: Gentiles, women, the poor, the afflicted, the outcasts. These are not people who belong in the story. They are not the people who anyone would choose to join a conspiracy. No one would hang a lie on the testimony of those who would not be trusted in the first place. The only plausible explanation is that something remarkable really did happen, and these people really were witness to it.
"To all people, for all people." Myths and legends involve heroic people doing mighty things for their own glory. The stories in the book of Acts are about ordinary men and women doing impossible things for the glory of someone else. The people who benefitted from the acts of the apostles were the wrong people. Something about this Jesus of Nazareth caused people to behave in ways contrary to the norms and expectations of the surrounding culture. It begs the question, what about this story caused people to behave in such socially reckless ways?
"How can I know, unless someone guides me?" We are responsible for the knowledge we have of Christ and the salvation that Christ provides. If we really believe all of this, why would we keep it to ourselves? And if a hurting world needs salvation, who else but those who believe in Jesus will tell the world the good news?
This devotional series is taken from the first readings of the Lectionary Year B. The Lectionary is a set of standardized Scripture readings that take the Church through the entire Christian year, beginning with Advent and then rotating all the way around to Christ the King Sunday, and then starting again. It goes in a three year rotation.
There are a few reasons to use the Lectionary as a devotional tool. One, by going through an entire three year rotation in the Lectionary, you will hit virtually every major and minor movement of the Biblical narrative. Second, it connects you with the global and historical church; the readings are the same in every church across the world, and churches have been using the Lectionary for generations. By using it, you are stepping into a historical stream of fellow believers, all reading and studying the same passages together. Third, the Lectionary has a way of leading us to the right Scriptures at just the right time.
For this series, we will be reading the following passages from the Book of Acts:
Acts 1:1-5, 21-26
In each of these stories, we learn how the gospel of Christ first began to spread, the way it changed the lives of everyone who encountered it, and how it motivated people to carry it further and further into the world.
As you read this study, don't be afraid to read the passages that come before and after the Lectionary texts. You might even read the entire book. When you do, you'll be amazed at the shape the early church took and the impact it had on the surrounding world, all because ordinary men and women stood up when asked, "Can I get a witness?"