Recently, I joined with Dr. Karen Fancher to contribute an answer to this question during our campus-wide Global Ministry Week at Multnomah. We reflected on the following out of the Gospel of Mark :
- 40 And a man with leprosy came to Jesus, imploring Him and kneeling down, and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out with His hand and touched him, and *said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed. 43 And He sternly warned him and immediately sent him away, 44 and He *said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” 45 But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news around, to such an extent that Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city, but stayed out in unpopulated areas; and they were coming to Him from everywhere.
It occurred to me as I was re-reading this passage that not only do we see this idea of witness manifested in the life of the leper as he begins to spontaneously share about Jesus with others, but that Jesus himself demonstrates witness as he acts with compassion. The action of Christ is also a form of witness. Jesus is pointing the leper and all who witnessed this act of compassion to the kingdom of God. The values of God are manifest here.
The Gospel is both simple and complex. It refers simply to the GOOD NEWS from God, announced, demonstrated and embodied. What I love about this passage, is that so much of Jesus and his teachings are wrapped up in this single act of compassion. It is beautiful and highlights the greatest teachings of Jesus. “To Love our Neighbor as ourselves.” And to be honest, I don’t think there is a greater act of “witness” than that.
Jesus tells us in Mark 12, to ”Love our neighbor as ourselves” Gandhi once said that “real love is to love even the neighbor you distrust.” Sounds like Jesus when he tells us to love our enemies.
I love some of the points that Dr. Karen Fancher mentioned!
Be authentic, seek to walk with Jesus daily and ask him to guide you in His ways
Don’t have all of the answers – sincerely love people and sincerely respond to the God who loves us all more than we can ever comprehend
Witness flows from a life centered on knowing and growing in relationship with God
Maybe witness isn’t that scary, maybe it’s just living authentic lives and pointing to Jesus.
Ultimately, as the Filipino mission scholar, Al Tizon says, “To proclaim good news….is to bear witness to the whole gospel and all that it entails.”
Want to catch the service? Check out https://multnomah.brand.live/c/community-chapel-March10