The Power of Testimony
Acts 15:12 The whole assembly kept silence, and listened to Barnabas and Paul as they told of all the signs and wonders that God had done through them among the Gentiles.
Peter had already stated the facts, now Barnabas and Paul were to confirm his statement. There was power in their testimony for they had experienced God working in and through them.
A great group of people had gathered. This wasn’t just a small meeting of the apostles, but the “assembly” would have been much larger. Peter had finished speaking and the entire group remained silent, waiting to hear the words of testimony.
While Paul had already been taking a leadership position among the two missionaries, it was Barnabas who was considered the leader in Jerusalem. He’s the one listed first in this instance and so there was an orderliness to the sharing of the testimony and the focus of the testimony was on all that God had done. There was no personal boasting when it came to their testimony, but rather, they wanted the leaders in Jerusalem to know that God had been a part of all that had happened among the Gentiles.
There was no arrogance among the church leadership. No one was fighting to speak, it was done in order and then James was able to wrap things up. The words of confirmation spoken by Paul and Barnabas had convinced those present that God was at work and the future of Christianity was changed forever.
Our words can be used in a very powerful way in the kingdom. God may be wanting us to speak up, and those words may make an eternal difference in the lives of others. There is power in testimony when it is done in the right manner.
The orderliness of the gathering becomes quite apparent. You get the sense that the egos were held in check at this meeting. The focus is truly upon God’s activity and God’s leading — not on someone winning the day for their own personal opinion. Interestingly, after the words of testimony it is James who leads the group through to their decision — not Peter, nor Paul.
When we see God at work in this world, we need to speak up! When the opportunity arises and we are questioned about God’s hand working among the people — speak up! The power of testimony can be transformational and we need not fear sharing God’s activity, for he is at work in our world today.
Lord, please give me the courage to share the testimony of your work. Amen.