"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched - this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ." 1 John 1:1-3
Jesus' parting words to His disciples were, "You will be my witnesses.." (Acts 1:8).
A witness is one who has "seen and heard" first-hand, and so the disciples chose another witness to replace Judas - "one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection." (Acts 1:21,22)
Advocates or witnesses?
A witness is not an advocate. A witness speaks of what he has seen and heard; an advocate defends what he has heard about - he relates second-hand information. A witness relates first-hand information. We are called to be witnesses and not advocates.
I believe the reason many believers struggle with being a witness and witnessing to the lost is because they have not seen and heard. Many believers defend their knowledge about Christ (advocates) instead of relating whom they personally know (witnesses).
Standing accused before the "rulers and elders of the people," Peter and John say in their defence, "we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:8, 20).
Does that mean that only those who were with Jesus were truly witnesses?
Saul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus (see Acts 9:3-9). Having seen and heard Jesus, Saul became a messenger, a witness of what he had seen and heard. Paul's testimony was his spiritual encounter with Jesus and it was this testimony that he related before the crowd in Acts 22 and before King Agrippa in Acts 26. Paul testified to what he had seen and heard.
In his letters to the churches, the apostle Paul consistently prays for the Church to receive spiritual revelation of God so that the Church will know Him personally.
"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better." Eph. 1:17
I want to know!
The apostle Paul lived to increasingly know Jesus. He knew that the more he could know Christ, the more Christ would be revealed in his life.
"I want to know Christ." Phil. 3:10
It is as we grow in our knowledge of Jesus that we will manifest His life and speak of Him. How can we speak of whom we do not know?
"It is written, 'I believed; therefore I have spoken.' With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know..." 2 Cor. 4:13,14
To believe in Jesus is to know Him.
Grow in the knowledge of God
"For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.." Col. 1:9,10
Seek the Lord today and become a witness of what you see and hear as you fellowship with Him!