In our last Catalyst we left Paul before an unruly mob: 40 Having received the commander’s permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in Aramaic:1 “Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.” (Acts 21:40-22:1, NIV)
Paul then proceeds though the next 21 verses to tell his story. We often call this a testimony. Testimony comes from the 14th century and means “evidence” or “proof.” It is from the Latin, tesimonium (from which we get Old Testament, New Testament). The Greek word is often translated “witness”. So the idea is someone who has witnessed the truth and is telling others about it.
In our own legal system we have witnesses who testify in court. Paul does that here. He doesn’t try to prove that Jesus is the Messiah through a theological survey of the OT…he just tells his story: “Here’s where I was and what I was doing. Here’s what Jesus did to rescue me from myself.”
In that sense, we all have a testimony to give. You probably know someone who needs to hear it. Whereas someone might not be interested in a theological debate, they are interested in you. But not only is it important for them that we tell our story, it is important for us. John says: 11 They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…(Revelation 12:11, NIV).