Jesus spread the Word through Personal Testimony & Witnesses
Companies know that word-of-mouth is the best way to sell products, not only because it is free but because it is the most effective advertising.
People trust family and friends, and the endorsement of a friend who testifies that a product is useful, effective, and reliable does more to sell it than any glamorous, eye-catching advertisements.
God chose to reveal himself to the world primarily by word of mouth. He inspired prophets to speak to his people about who he is, how he loves them, and his plan for their salvation. In the fullness of time, the Son of God came to give divine revelation by his words, actions, and very being as Immanuel (God-with-us). But he didn’t come in the age of print media, radio, television, and air travel. Why not come at a time when he could address the entire world in an electronic broadcast, or jet to every continent where hundreds of thousands of people could see him in person? Perhaps because, as quickly as electronic communication travels, it is impersonal. Jesus chose to spread the word of salvation through the personal testimony of eyewitnesses. We have the choice to believe whether Jesus is the Son of God based on the testimony of the Church, the Scriptures, and our families and friends going back in an unbroken chain to the Apostles and eyewitnesses of Jesus.
John the Baptist is the first to give public testimony to Jesus. He is described in the Gospels as a prophetic figure who became famous for preaching repentance and administering a baptism for the forgiveness of sins in the Jordan River. He came in the spirit and power of the prophet Elijah to make God’s people ready for the day of salvation. He lived in the wilderness, wore a rough cloak, ate locusts and honey. These actions are the type of things that God instructed many of the prophets to do in order to communicate something by their very lives as well as their words. Actions get people’s attention, and the Gospels relate that crowds of people flocked to hear John and many sinners accepted his baptism. But although many people saw that he was a holy man and listened to him, undoubtedly many others dismissed him as a madman.
Just as we must choose whether to believe the testimony about Jesus, all of us give a testimony by our words and actions. This is something important to reflect on: what do I proclaim by my life? Do my actions show that I regard my job, or success, or my sport, or my videogames, or family, or retirement as the supreme good that I serve, or do I proclaim that knowing Jesus Christ is greater than anything else? All the other things are good, but not the highest good – they should serve the end of helping me to grow in holiness through my work, family, and leisure and to give testimony that knowing, loving, and serving Jesus is what makes each of them more wonderful than it could be without him.
All of us give testimony by our words and actions: do my words and actions at home, at work, and in recreation bear witness to Jesus and the immeasurable love of God that he reveals?
by Fr. Nathan Marzonie