In John 1:19-51 we encounter three witnesses of the Lord Jesus: John the Baptist, Andrew, and Philip. These three combine their voices to declare that Jesus is the Christ. They have different backgrounds, personalities, and responsibilities, but each one faithfully testifies to Jesus; together they form a portrait of bearing witness to Jesus in this world.
John the Baptist’s witness (Jn 1:19-36) is public and pointed, and bears the marks of a God-given call and authority much like what the Church’s corporate witness should be. God has given the keys of the kingdom to local churches to “bind” and “loose.” Churches are to publicly and pointedly proclaim to their communities who Jesus is and what he has done. With God-given authority they are to call men and women, boys and girls to repentance and faith declaring that salvation is found in no other name than the name of Jesus.
Andrew’s and Philip’s witness is personal and relational (Jn 1:41-42, 45-46). Andrew shares Christ with his brother Simon (Peter). Philip goes and tells his friend Nathanael that they have found the Promised One. Both are examples of the privilege and responsibility we have to personally bear witness to Jesus.
Chances are that most of us (except as a Church) aren’t called to a public platform like John the Baptist and that’s okay! God loves to use the private witness of individual Christians. D.A. Carson writes, “[Andrew]....became the first in a long line of successors who have discovered that the most common and effective Christian testimony is the private witness of friend to friend, brother to brother….That has been the foundational principle of truly Christian expansion ever since: new followers of Jesus bear witness of him to others, who in turn become disciples and repeat the process.” You and I matter! Our faithful testimony to Jesus is a powerful tool in the hands of the Redeemer.
So, as a local Church and as individual believers, let us joyfully and faithfully be His witnesses!
Chuck Cook is the pastor of Grace Bible Church - Rolla.