“I, yes I, am God.
I’m the only Savior there is.
I spoke, I saved, I told you what existed
long before these upstart gods appeared on the scene.
And you know it, you’re my witnesses,
you’re the evidence.” God’s Decree.
I love the way The Message presents this portion of Isaiah 43:11-13. Yes, I understand that Peterson’s paraphrases are a little quirky sometimes, and they can be hard to line up with other versions, verse to verse; but the expressions often reveal the heart and soul of the scriptures in a unique and powerful way.
“You are my witnesses,” God says. “You are the evidence.”
Elsewhere in the Bible we are referred to as “Living Stones,” and as a “Living Letter,” sent from Jesus to the world:
And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. – 1 Peter 2:5
You are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:3
The bottom line is that we – that means you, friends and readers, and me – are God’s best plan when it comes to communicating the heart of the Gospel of Love.
THE PLAN IS YOU: We can spend millions on advertising campaigns, blast the television airways and cable networks with televangelistic theater, stand on street corners and yell, print leaflets, put posters up on the roadside, carry placards, and make all sorts of noise about America being a Christian nation, or not…
…But the place where the rubber meets the road in terms of God’s plan for spreading the good news is much more elegant: The plan is you; the plan is me: “You are my witnesses,” God says; “You are the evidence.”
- The most profound questions your children have about the love of God are answered in you.
- Any doubts my neighbor has, or clarifications he’s looking for, concerning what it means to follow Jesus, are specifically addressed via the way that I live faith out loud.
- The co-worker who is struggling with the idea of showing up at church one Sunday will likely be swayed – over time – by what the faith he sees in you says about God.
- This community, and your community too, is watching The church (God help us!). They are watching our church, and they’re watching the one you attend too. And Jesus is trusting that we all communicate in the way he instructed, “Everyone will know that you are my disciples of you have love for one another.”
“Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” – John 13:34-35
Such a simple directive; such an elegant plan; such a powerful opportunity. “And you will be my witnesses,” Jesus told his friends in Acts Chapter One, “telling people about me everywhere.”