My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him.
He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care. (NLT)
It is a mistake to think that followers of Jesus best witness to him when they win mighty victories or secure the favour of whoever happens to be in power. It is good to share how battles have been won, but it is also good to share how we deal with the battles we lose.
It is wonderful to bear testimony to divine healings, but it is also a witness when we bear testimony to those who live graciously and courageously with unhealed bodies and minds. It is good to share how God has worked to bring wayward children back to him. It is also good to share how God has helped parents to go on loving those who don’t come back.
Paul the Apostle reminds his readers in Corinth of his ongoing struggles and reminds them that this is in itself a testimony to his life in Christ. And in our text today, we note that Jesus himself did not come swaggering into human life as some glamorous celebrity from heaven. His healings and acts of love bore witness to his character, but so too did his being tortured on the cross.
We can witness to the grace and power of God without being on top of things all the time. This helps us witness to his faithfulness rather than highlight our own faith. Authentic witness always points beyond ourselves to God. We don’t ultimately bear witness to our own strength or our own faith but to the One who gives us strength and is the focus of our fragile faith.