Week 6 Day 4: The Witness of the Evangelist

“This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.”
John 21:24

The Witness of the Evangelist
The reason we know about God’s love revealed in Jesus is because people we knew have witnessed to him on his behalf.

-Br. Mark Brown



Transcript:

Today, our theme is the witness of the evangelist … that is, St. John, the beloved disciple, the one who reclined close to Jesus at the Last Supper. And this is the verse from scripture:

“This is the disciple who is testifying to these things, and has written them. And we know that his testimony is true.” And I can’t resist reading one more verse, because it’s the very last verse of the Gospel of John. “But there are also many other things that Jesus did. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that could be written.”

But the point here is the evangelist, St. John, the beloved disciple, was an eyewitness.  And we read elsewhere, in the First Letter of John, that (John) heard (Jesus’) voice. He saw him with his eyes. He touched him with his hands, and he was there. And this experience of being in the very presence of Christ changed him, and the experience has compelled him to tell others about him.

And that is the nature of Christian testimony that’s rooted and grounded in personal experience, (the) experience of the first disciples, the apostles, the evangelists. And this testimony passes from person to person, from generation to generation. And the Holy Spirit moves in and through our own testimony or other people’s testimony to their own experience.

But we give testimony not only in our words, but in our actions as well. And the reason we know about God’s love revealed in Jesus is because people we knew have witnessed to him on his behalf. And those people who knew him in the first century witnessed on his behalf and witnessed to the change that was wrought within them through their contact with Jesus Christ.

So our prayer might take a couple of different directions. We might reflect on those individuals in our lives who have been witnesses to the love of God in Christ and give thanks for those particular individuals, like parents or grandparents or friends or teachers, whoever. Or we might reflect on how we ourselves are being a witness to the love of God in Jesus Christ in our lives and through our words and in our actions, as well.

We invite you to share your reflection here >

20 Comments

  1. Dorothy Wilson on 03/25/2018 at 7:26 am

    There wasn’t a church in the new community, where my parents lived, so my parents opened their home on a Sunday morning to have a Church service.. The congregation was small and it started to grow into a faithful community. Eventually they built their own church. It reminds me of the parable of the mustard seed.



  2. jerry Kirks on 03/24/2018 at 9:34 pm

    Today is a great day of witnessing Love! The March for Our Lives gives me more hope for the future than ever! It is time to look to the people not “K” Street to find the values of love, compassion, for our neighbors
    Our nation is being challanged from every direction, including the top! We must look to our spiritual base, not political, for our salvation.
    Christian and moral ethics are being exchanged for enormous profits for a very few, to a job and tax cut for others.
    It is time to return to the spiritual values of loving God and our neighbors, not protected jobs and profit
    The life and spirit of the high school students I see today gives me some hope!

    May God bless these young, strong people!!

    Jerry



    • Mark on 03/27/2018 at 9:45 pm

      I used to think like you and the exuberant youth years ago and then life experience taught me much including researching for what is true. My son-in-law received a nice bonus last month that paid off the hospital debt of my daughter. I am grateful. They are not wealthy but lower middle class and they struggle to stay out of debt. with two small children. Hopefully the bonus was not unethical.

      I wouldn’t own a gun years ago until I did some deep history work, that wasn’t taught in the government controlled public schools that our Founders were men of great faith in God and were wise beyond their years from their experience from the evils that impacted them from government that would have enslaved them. They knew the danger of power in the hands of a few and so gave us a Republic that would hopefully protect all from overreaching government and other predators to give us freedom to live so that we might grow into the people God created us to become. Spiritual development theory reveals that it is very important for individuals to be able to explore the world and their faith without being controlled by the thoughts and actions of others. Listening for the inner voice of God and wisdom can be squashed so easily by those in power who dictate how we are to think, feel and act, becoming deified themselves, playing God when they are only desirous of being in power over others. The Founders and Framers were wise enough to see that boundaries need to be established to protect all citizens instead of subjects to a government i.e. so that government would stay out of the way for people to live out their spiritual lives. I prefer to listen to God instead of a politician who uses taxpayer’s money to demonize others, law biding citizens, whose only wish is to be left alone in freedom. All they want is to maintain the boundaries of that freedom in God’s Natural Law of the right to defend themselves from those that might harm them. Being both a priest and a psychotherapist, I have developed over the years the ability to discern when people are being manipulated. I am for life also. But freedom is central to life as God has made us free and Christ has set us free. Freedom is a spiritual phenomenon. Boundaries are set so that they may be maintained.

      May you experience the Peace of Jesus as you walk through Holy Week.



    • Suzanne Crawford on 03/28/2018 at 3:37 pm

      I agree! I like the way this movement is responding. They seem to be reacting with love and not malice or revenge. I feel the pain and the love. This reaction seems very different than so many of the other “protests”. I can feel God’s love and protection and the other protests seem ego centered and lack His love. Peace be with all.



  3. Jaan Sass on 03/24/2018 at 6:47 am

    My parents are fundamentalists, and I grew up in a stereotype baptist home. My Dad was a preacher. I grew with all the prejudices toward even other Christian faiths. God kept blowing up my world, or maybe it was the gift of my depression that helped me reflect on what it meant to follow Christ. Experiences in a Christian Hippie commune, Charismatic Catholics, becoming a liberal Catholic Episcopalian caused a lot of pain in my immediate family.
    I joined the military in my 40’s I was stretched even more Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, and even Wicca. I tried to see Christ in everyone but I failed because I did not see him inside of me or in my actions of fear and sadness.
    Kenneth Leech talking about communion says it well I am still a Christian when he compares Christ and Humpty Dumpty:
    “For his followers Jesus is the exact opposite of Humpty Dumpty. Not only is his broken life put together again in the resurrection, but each celebration of the Christian community is a re-membering of Christ, a putting together of the Christ who was broken and smashed. But in this re-membering, we become his members, his body, the extension of his incarnation and passion into human history. ”
    From the Book, We Preached Christ Crucified.
    The older I become I realize I do not know God only what I perceive to be him/her. I know that Jesus loves me and that his love is offered to everyone. I still panic get scared and want to run away, but it is my Church family and my wife that keep grounded in reality. Priests, Pastors, Chaplains, communal living and my own brokenness humbled my criticisms and taught me how to love others.



  4. marta engdahl on 03/23/2018 at 8:16 am

    Each year, especially during Lent, we are reminded of the sacrifice that God in the form of Jesus made for us. As I read scripture daily and work at praying, I continue to see the “miracles” of God in my life. My life is not always what I want it to be, but it is in the gaps that I see God at work. So, I work to try to stay close to God. And, as I do so, I see more “miracles” so I know that when I begin to count off the Miracles, and recollect the details, I become aware of how close God is at every moment. Seeing that is the revelation of God’s closeness. Finally, I am coming to see that I can be joyful as well as “present” to others and walk past the griefs. I guess this is the beauty of the years, to be able to finally see the works of God and to be able to share the miracles, if not in detail, at least in my presence as those miracles walk with me. Praise God!



  5. Bryan Cook on 03/22/2018 at 6:03 pm

    Sometimes it is hard to bear witness when there is a lack of willingness to receive, when the effort is exhausting and when even my own family is at best neutral about my faith. At times I need to heal myself but I rarely listen to what my body is saying. I ask God to give me the wisdom to make the right choices.



  6. David John Drew on 03/22/2018 at 4:36 am

    O Lord of Truth,

    I too bear witness to you as the ultimate Truth – I believe that all people yearn in their hearts to know the Truth and to know You. It can be so difficult for many to rest in absolute certainty of faith because of the diversions and distractions of a world filled with deceptions. Such people, I understand, are lacking the light of insight and are unable to perceive you in the darkness in which they continue to live. Lord, as I continue to pray for such people, if there is anything that I can do to illuminate their minds, through my words or actions, as your humble servant I am willing to follow your example and those of your evangelists in the past – and unreservedly accept your guidance and will to bring others to our faith.

    Lord of the Resurrection,

    I think oftentimes it is a matter of being able to see your presence in others – and today I attended the funeral mass of such a one of your devoted disciples, Sylvia – a Third Order Franciscan. Her entire life was an active, fruitful testimony of her faith, her trusting soul radiated so much concern, compassion and kindness for others. Sylvia lived and died with an intimate knowledge of Truth in her heart, and though she will be sadly missed, we all know that she now dwells with you in eternal peace and tranquility – of having struggled and accomplished the goal of her life here. It is marvelous to think that this year she will be celebrating your victory, your triumph over death on the Easter weekend together with all your Holy Ones.

    Lord of Glory,

    May we be so bold to claim you as our own Truth, and to praise and glorify your Name in our daily lives, and give a clear and emphatic testimony of you in the way that we think, speak and act – just as the Apostle John did… and recount the miraculous ways you continue to affect, influence and inspire us all for the good.

    + Amen

    Pax Christi – David



  7. James on 03/21/2018 at 11:36 pm

    A testimony doesn’t have to be in the form of a dialogue, discussions and presentations (speeches). Reaching out to those in need, and sharing Jesus’s love with those starving for love, care, supports etc constitutes our testimony. I come from a place where we were taught about the love of God and His Son Jesus Christ but seldom was it practiced. Non Christians would prefer to see the love of Jesus Christ than hear about it.



  8. James on 03/21/2018 at 8:58 pm

    My father told my wife just before he died, not to worry about him because he knew where he was going. He knew he was going home to be with his heavenly Father. I learned a lot about Christian faith through my parents. However, I’ve been discouraged by People who claim to be Christians but at best were cultural Christians. It’s difficult for me to understand why people would want to keep the Word of the Lord locked away somewhere never to be exposed to others. Afterall, we’ve discovered the cure for the 21st century plague of sin in Jesus. If you woke up one day to discover the cure for cancer, wouldn’t you want the world to know?



    • Bishop Hollywood on 03/21/2018 at 9:56 pm

      The Bible itself is testimonials of people who are testifying what they have seen and heard from their relationship with God written down. So what does that mean, that means that just like those brothers and sisters had a relationship with God, inspite of their imperfections, we too can have, the same thing. Think about it, each day we live, we are having encounters with God. He speaks to us, guides our foot steps, and keeps us. So we too have a testimony and if we wanted to, we could write it down, just like the saints of old did. So that others can know the goodness of God.



      • Kathleen on 03/22/2018 at 8:35 am

        Thank you for sharing your insights in this eloquent, yet clear, way. A blessing and worthy of many re-reads.



    • Irma Crepps on 03/22/2018 at 9:34 am

      Great point James.



  9. Daniel Knutson on 03/21/2018 at 6:58 pm

    Thanks so much Daniel!



  10. Meredith on 03/21/2018 at 5:49 pm

    I have discovered this year during Lent that I am more apt to help and bless others out of pain I have experienced in my life. That has overturned my theory that goodness comes out of gratitude. I have lived a charmed life but that has not imspired charity; it is always the pain. Go figure!!



  11. Susan on 03/21/2018 at 5:30 pm

    I want to Praise God for my parents who were witnesses to me and my siblings throughout our lives. Also to my beloved therapist who has stayed by me everyday of this terrible cancer surgery, even though we now live several states apart.



  12. John David Spangler on 03/21/2018 at 4:58 pm

    Agatha’s description of the witnesses n her life parallels that of my own life. I will only add that my father, though not a church-goer saw to it that I followed my mother’s lead. Both taught me that God did not limit himself to Christians, but that He cared about “all sorts and conditions of men”. A firm believer that all our prayers should be thanksgiving, I try to remember all those who have touched my life and enabled me to follow Him. That goodly number includes many who did not profess and call themselves Christians.



  13. Agatha Nolen on 03/21/2018 at 3:54 pm

    The witnesses in my life have taken different shapes. My mother took me to church every Sunday and I learned how important faith was to her in overcoming the trials in her life. It was more about obligation, but I learned loyalty and faithfulness to God from her.

    Recently, there were people I met on a church trip to South Africa that showed me God’s true love when I was going through a painful divorce and recovering from breast cancer. Upon returning home, I found even more witnesses who seemed to embed God into their daily life. I wanted to learn how to make that seamless transition from Sunday mornings to daily encounters with family, friends and co-workers.

    I also remember vividly those people who exhibited behavior that was definitely not Christ-like. It was easy to tell the followers and believers apart from others by their words and actions.



  14. Bobbi on 03/21/2018 at 3:53 pm

    It is easier for me to expresses my faith through deeds than through words. My excuse, that we in New England don’t talk about our faith, is more than pathetic. Thank you, Brother Mark, for the nudge to speak up about Christ in my life.



  15. Keith Aldred on 03/21/2018 at 2:47 pm

    May we thank God for those in our lives who enabled us to follow Him. May we witness to Him too.