“I will appoint my two witnesses and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”
The “two witnesses” in this story represent the place and the purpose God gives to his church and, by association, to every person who has faith in Jesus. The church is a witnessing community—this is who we are and what we do. We witness to each other and to our communities how life is to be lived “in step with the Holy Spirit” (Galatians 5:25)—“to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly” with God (Micah 6:8). We do this because Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. . . . You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14). We are his witnesses.
We need to let this identity define us. There is a persistent notion limiting God’s claim on who we are. We have learned to look to preachers, missionaries, chaplains, and evangelists as full-time kingdom witnesses. But God makes no such distinctions. All who come to Jesus in faith are recipients of the Holy Spirit, who sends us into the world as witnesses (Matthew 28:19-20). Roofers, students, nurses, teachers, miners, chefs, volunteers—all people—are sent to share the good news of life made new in, through, and for Jesus.
The “two witnesses” are not dressed in the latest designer clothing. God dresses us in sackcloth. This is a subtle but firm reminder that we need to drink from the same well of repentance and forgiveness as everyone else does. We witness in humility, not self-righteousness or pride.
Thank you, Jesus, for the honor of being your witnesses. Please keep us humble, we pray. Amen.