“God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses.” (Acts 2:32)
These are the words of Peter on the day of Pentecost after the disciples experienced the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Peter is trying to explain to people who had heard the disciples praising God in various tongues and languages what was happening. The disciples had just experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit as Jesus had told them in Acts 1:8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth.”
Four hundred years earlier, the prophet, Joel foretold, “I will pour out my Spirit on all mankind. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; even upon the servants and the handmaids, in those days, I will pour out my spirit.” (Joel 3:1-2)
Acts 1:15 indicates that there were 120 present following the ascension of Jesus. Paul reports in 1 Corinthians 15:6 that Jesus appeared to “more than five hundred of the brothers at once.” All of these were witnesses to Jesus and his resurrection.
God invites all of us to meet the resurrected Jesus in a way that is unique and personal to each of us. Then like Peter and the several hundred disciples who saw Jesus after his resurrection, we are called to witness to the resurrected Jesus in our own life – that we have met him, that he lives in us and that he is real. Many years ago, I met Jesus one October evening during a healing mass, and he took some disorder and sin from my life and offered me a new life if I would accept his healing, forgiveness and love.
I accepted his offer. Ever since that time, I have been trying to witness to his resurrection and presence in my life and the life of my family and others. I don’t always do as good a job as I should, but the reality of his presence is there nevertheless. I have spoken about him to my family, business colleagues, bosses, subordinates; to people individually, in small groups and large groups; sometimes to strangers.
I have spoken of his love, his forgiveness, his provision, his guidance, his revelation of scripture, his presence in the sacraments and his presence in others. The greatest challenge is being his witness not just in word, but in conduct. That takes constant prayer, God’s grace and awareness of his presence through the Holy Spirit.
Have you accepted the offer of the resurrected Jesus to live in you, and have you been a witness to this reality?