“You want us to do what!?” That would be my question if I were one of the Hebrews standing with Moses at the Red Sea. “You want us to walk through the Sea with a wall of water on our left and a wall of water on our right?!” With an advancing Egyptian army on one side and the Sea with the miracle channel on the other, there was not much choice. We look back at that moment knowing full well God’s people make it across, but all they had to go on at the time was God’s word on it. I imagine it was a frightening moment to say the least.
“You want us to do what!?” I’m guessing this is what many will have been thinking with our recent focus on being God’s witness. “You want me to speak to my friends, neighbours, and even complete strangers about Jesus? Do you not know how scary that is?” Actually I do. There is no doubt that speaking to others about Jesus in a society which likes to keep faith a private matter can be a scary thing. But it is nowhere near as scary as what was asked of God’s people at the Red Sea. In that frightening moment there is a remarkable lesson that is applicable to being a witness; we can trust God to act with power and love when we participate in his works of salvation. There are two things to think about.
First, it took God to work in power to make that walk to salvation possible. If Moses had said “let’s go” and God had not made a way through the Sea, all would have been lost. We can no more lead someone to faith in Christ on our own than the Hebrews could cross the Red Sea. It took a miracle. Thankfully, we know that God does work in power: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NIV). We can expect God to work in power in the lives of those we witness to. We can all think of people for whom it would take a miracle to bring about a change of heart or mind. God does those!
Second, while it was God’s miracle, the people were invited to participate. God parted the Sea but this was no “beam me over Scotty” moment, the people had to walk through which required both trust, and a choice. As for evangelism, yes, God could just reveal himself to people in dreams, but he tends not to, instead inviting His people to participate in the miracles of changed lives, changed futures. And for us to participate in that walk to salvation through our witness, we will need to trust in God, and to just do it. Following Jesus’ promise of power to His disciples to be his witnesses we find the following:
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11 NIV)
In other words, “don’t just stand there, get to it!” And for the disciples to get to it, they would need to trust God to work in power. That God has indeed worked in power and that the church has been participating has been evidenced by the amazing growth of his Church down to our day. Let’s watch for that amazing power and amazing love in the lives of those we witness to. But let’s not just watch for miracles – let’s participate!