Day 32: February 1, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

John 1:35-51 Read Online

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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look! The Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this and followed Jesus.

—John 1:36-37

The Power of a Personal Testimony
by Norma (JJ) Goldman, Member of Champion Forest Baptist, Houston, TX

Sociologists have long been interested in what makes a person decide to take a specific course of action—to change his mind, to make a purchase, to determine to lose weight, or take a new job, for example. Some refer to the moment of decision as “the tipping point.” I don’t know about you, but sometimes I surprise myself that a decision comes so easily, while at other times it seems to take forever for me to make up my mind.

Marketing companies spend millions of dollars trying to find ways of moving one buyer to influence another, knowing that a personal recommendation is worth far more than mere advertisements. In this matter of making decisions, the impact of others’ input or encouragement can be huge. My decision to accept Christ as Savior was heavily influenced by the witness of a teenage friend who talked constantly of her church, its ministries, and her personal involvement.

Whose testimony influenced your decision to become a Christ-follower? Was it the overt witness of someone who shared the gospel message—perhaps a parent, pastor, or teacher? Was it the testimony of someone over a long period of time? Perhaps it was a more subtle witness of a person simply living before you in such a way that prompted you to ask, “What is so different about him? Why does he always seem to have the answers I’m looking for?”

My friend, Elaine, was influenced by simply observing her husband reading Scripture over a period of years. She remembers thinking to herself, “Whatever is in that book must be awfully important for him to spend so much time reading it.” She resolved to find out and began reading the Gospel of John. Before the book was finished, Christ Himself had spoken to her so powerfully that she slipped to her knees and placed her faith in Him on the spot!

These verses from John’s Gospel assume that the reader knows a great deal about the cultural and religious customs of Jesus’ day.

When a rabbi (teacher) took on a disciple, it was understood that the disciple would walk, live, eat, and emulate his teacher 24/7. Taking the rabbi’s yoke meant the disciple would accept the rabbi’s teaching and faith as his own. It wasn’t a light thing or a casual step to become a disciple. For one to ask, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” would’ve been understood by all as a commitment to be discipled.

John the Baptist was a powerful witness for the One who was to come after him, having a higher rank—the One whose teachings would supersede John’s teaching and authority. John both lived and preached the gospel for all to see and hear. And his role of making way for God’s Son also included preparing the hearts of some who would follow Jesus to the very end of His mission on earth, and beyond.

Some of the men who so readily turned to follow Jesus had already been following John the Baptist. They had seen him at work, baptizing many who were convicted by the Holy Spirit of their need to repent. They’d heard his bold statement of faith and powerful preaching directed not only to the crowds but to the Jewish religious leaders.

They heard his testimony, about the Lamb of God who had come to take away the sin of the world. And they specifically heard John testify that the same Spirit who’d called him into ministry would confirm the Lamb of God by sending His Spirit, descending like a dove, when that One was baptized. It happened exactly as the Spirit told John.

As Jesus, the Son of God was baptized, the Spirit descended upon him as a dove.

And, prompted by the Spirit, they believed Jesus truly was the Son of God, the Lamb sent to take away the sin of the world! Their hearts were pricked at John’s words calling for repentance in preparation for the coming kingdom. John had done his work well—so well, in fact, that many of his followers became followers of Christ. They took on Jesus’ yoke of discipleship.

One of the most revealing things in this account is that when individuals accepted Jesus as Messiah, they unfailingly brought others to discover what they had found. Andrew found Simon Peter. Philip found Nathaniel. My teenage friend, Esther, found me.

Esther was with so happy and satisfied with her relationship with Christ that she thought it would be a good thing for me as well. She was right! Though I’ve followed Christ imperfectly over several decades, I’ve never doubted that accepting Him was the single most important decision I ever made. While I realize that Esther’s invitation was prompted by the Holy Spirit, I continue to give thanks for her persistence in inviting me to “Come and see!”

Reflection Questions

  1. What’s it about your manner of living that would inspire someone to seek a relationship with Christ?
  2. How important would you say it is for a person to take on the yoke of discipleship?
  3. How can believers partner with the Holy Spirit in bringing others to faith in Christ?

About the Author

Norma (JJ) Goldman

When she was a young Christian, God called her to teach. After all these years, it’s still her passion in life. Since 2001, JJ has been a member of Brentwood Baptist, and she’s taught an adult LIFE Group for most of that time.

JJ has also served on the Corporate Governance Team and Staff Resource Team, led new teacher training, and participated in the adult choir. She loves to travel and has been on mission journeys to Honduras, Puerto Rico, Kenya, South Africa, and Scotland. Writing has been a lifelong hobby for her, and she now gets to write regularly for a Christian publication.

JJ has two daughters, a son, and five grandchildren—all who live in Texas.