“…they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…”Revelation 12:11
I won’t take up your time that would be required to completely exegete this great verse, but I will ask you to hang out with me long enough to be encouraged by two words from it: “conquered” and “testimony.”
At the very least, this verse assures us that the words (testimony) of God’s people (you and me) have power (conquer). Our words that tell our personal stories of the glory and greatness and goodness and grace of Jesus have power to overcome! To win victories!
The one conquered in this verse is called the “accuser of our brothers,” aka Satan. The Devil. The Evil One. The Adversary. The Enemy of Our Souls. The Father of Lies. The One-Who-Seeks-to-Destroy-All-Things-Beautiful. It seems that the beauty of God’s way in our world is crumbling before our eyes as our enemy sews chaos and confusion about life that is created by God in the image of God and as he fills people’s heart with discord and hate. The good news is that our enemy has another name, The Defeated Foe.
“And having disarmed the powers and authorities (Satan and his demons), he (Jesus) made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. ”Colossians 2:15
Our enemy continues to be defeated by the blood of Jesus and the word of our testimony.
My voice is small, and it is only one; but right now I will use it to share my Jesus story and pray that my story will encourage you.
Most of you are aware of some of the events of my life since mid January of 2021. My mother died. I officiated her funeral and burial a week later in West Virginia. A little over a week after that, a new grandson was born to us, but because of COVID, we were unable to see or hold the baby or attend to the physical and emotional needs of new parents who were required to “go it alone.” A few days later, COVID visited our home. It came first to Brooke, then to Kathy five days later, and five days after that it visited me. My quarantine ended the morning of the day of the rehearsal for my son’s wedding that I officiated this past Saturday. Whew!
As I re-read this list, I know that the Craig who too often lives first and foremost out of his own strength would have been overwhelmed by these events and their quick succession, but the reality is that the Craig to whom the Lord graciously ministered was not! In the moment I was living each of these experiences, far from being overwhelmed, I was surrounded by the presence of and sustained by power of the Lord. Samuel Rutherford writes, “I think it is a sweet thing, that Christ saith of my cross, ‘Half mine,’ and that he divideth these sufferings with me and taketh the largest share to himself; nay, that I, and my whole cross, are wholly Christ’s.”
In each experience, I found new meaning to Jesus’ words, “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I felt the “lightness” of the Lord in each instance as He carried me forward to what was required next. I discovered that when Jesus is with you, the thing you dread the most isn’t so dreadful, and the thing you fear the most isn’t so fearful, and the joy you imagine isn’t as good as the joy of the moment when Jesus actually meets you!
In all these things, Jesus allowed me to hear His voice asking, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?” (Matthew 9:15) My answer was, “No!” I couldn’t really mourn while Jesus was with me. So my testimony is this: Jesus turned my sorrow into joy. Jesus turned my fear into faith.
In all these things, Jesus allowed me to experience the truth of His promise: “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” (John 16:22) So my testimony is this: Jesus has given me joy that even sickness and death were not able to take it away.
Your testimony may be different from mine. Jesus has met or is meeting you in different ways and in different places. He has taught or is teaching you different truths about who He is, but TESTIFY! Tell your Jesus story. It is powerful. In ways you cannot imagine, the Lord can use it to encourage others and to disarm the fear through which our enemy seeks to discourage, defeat, and destroy us.
Lord willing I will be back with you this Sunday! I am already rejoicing in that hope as I eagerly anticipate returning to Matthew 28 and Jesus’ Great Commission. I am praying for the testimonies that will be ours–corporately and individually–as we go into our world and make disciples of Jesus Christ. As we tell the story of Jesus, our enemy will be conquered. Lives will be redeemed and restored and remade more and more in the image of Christ. Let’s testify!