We saw briefly last week that Jesus Christ is called ‘the faithful witness’ [Revelation 1:5]. In 3:14 Jesus refers to himself as ‘the faithful and true witness’. In both of these the Greek word is martus, from which our English word ‘martyr’ is derived.

These descriptions of Jesus Christ as the ‘faithful’ and ‘true’ witness take us right back to those three years of his public ministry where he taught the truth about God and his kingdom. During those years everything he said was what the Father told him to say –

‘For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God’ [John 3:35].

‘The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life’ [John 6:63].

‘The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work’ [John 14:10].

‘I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world … For I gave them the words you gave me …’ [John 17:6,8].

And the things that Jesus did revealed the truth about God and his kingdom, and confirmed the integrity his word:

‘For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me’ [John 5:36].

‘The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me. … though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father’ [John 10:25,38].

‘… everything I learned from my Father I have made known to you’ [John 15:15].

By his words and his works Jesus Christ revealed God [John 1:18; Matthew 11:27]. Because of his witness we know God [John 14:6-9] and we know the truth about God. The dark blindness of our spiritual ignorance, the darkness of our human religions, has been ripped away. We see God by seeing Jesus [2Corinthians 4:6].

In Revelation 1:2 John refers to the contents of Revelation as ‘the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ’. Elsewhere in Revelation the phrase ‘the testimony of Jesus’ refers repeatedly to the total content of the truth taught by Jesus Christ and about Jesus Christ, which Christians believe. Christians are described as those who ‘have’ ‘the testimony of Jesus’. Christians, out of all the people who inhabit the earth, have in their possession the word of God and the testimony of Jesus – the truth about God which Jesus came and taught by his words, and which Jesus, in all of his actions – from his incarnation through to his death, resurrection and ascension – demonstrated and revealed. Christians, whether they realize it or not, have, in Jesus Christ and what he taught and did, the real truth about God.

Revelation teaches us that this ‘testimony of Jesus’ which Christians possess is one of two things that ensures their victory over the evil one [Revelation 12:11]. This affirms the teaching of Paul about the full armour of God – where every item in the armour is the truth content of the Gospel [Ephesians 6:10-17].

Revelation also teaches that it is the fact that Christians have this ‘testimony of Jesus’ that makes them the target of the evil one’s attacks [Revelation 1:9; 6:9; 12:17]. It is the ‘testimony of Jesus’ that the evil one wishes to destroy; it is this that attracts his opposition to the Church.

Jesus’ witness, Jesus’ revelation of God, exposes the lies of the evil one. It penetrates and over-powers the darkness in which he has held the world in bondage. It sets people free from his authority.

He, Jesus Christ, ‘the true and faithful witness’, is a witness worth believing.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2015