The Book of Revelation gives us many names for Jesus Christ, all of them designed to teach us something about Him. In the first chapter He’s called “the faithful witness” (v4), and repeated in 3:14. A witness, in a legal setting, is someone who confirms the truth of something they have seen. In the New Testament, a witness is someone involved in preaching what he has seen and knows. The apostles were witnesses of the resurrected Jesus, and as Peter explained in Acts 10:41-42, they were ordered to preach and testify this truth. This was often difficult because apostolic preachers regularly faced violence, opposition, and threats of imprisonment and death if they continued to preach as witnesses. Therefore Jesus urged them to be faithful in their important work as witnesses, despite the dangers.
Jesus Himself, in a similar way, was a faithful witness. Paul reminded Timothy that “Jesus testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate.” (1 Tim.6:13). As He stood before this Roman governor who could easily have him executed, Jesus said, “For this I have been born, and for this I have come in to the world, to bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:37). Timothy was to do his work as a witness of the truth of Jesus Christ even if danger confronted him, just like his Lord.
And what about you and I? What stops us from telling others about our Lord? It has always been a tricky thing to do, but we are to find ways to be faithful. If Christians in the 1st century were to be faithful witnesses even in dangerous times (see 2:13), shouldn’t we today?
– Tim Johnson