In Jesus’ day, “The Roman justice system and the local Jewish justice system sat side by side. Submission to the Jewish authority was a choice (but a necessary concomitant of membership in the Jewish community); submission to the Roman authority was mandatory.”
To this day, Christians world over make a very deliberate decision to abide by the laws of at least two governments. The laws of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the laws of the country they abide in. Many of us live according to multiple governments, adding civic government, territory/state/provincial government and local church government to the mix. These mixes usually result in the Christians of the community being very literally the most law-abiding citizens of the land.
But sometimes the laws of our physical land – be it country or territory – and the laws of our God and King collide. In those cases it is required that the Christian adhere to the higher authority. For the laws of a province cannot trump the laws of the country, and the laws of the country cannot trump the laws set by God Most High. When that happens we are inevitably brought before a human ‘justice’ system on charges of lawbreaking. Jesus told us as much would happen, “On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.”
Jesus will later tell us again that we will be witnesses in Acts 1:8. Most times that means we’ll have opportunity to witness to those in our circles. But sometimes we have opportunity to witness beyond our normal circles. To police officers, to judges, to jailed inmates, to lawyers and court officials. Sometimes even to governors and kings!
That’s not always a pleasant witness experience. Not for us, and not for those we are witnessing to. For while most of us in our present western society can witness without fear, and to the effect of leading others to Jesus, some will witness in fear, and as a testimony during the final judgment which will be used against those we witness to.
In such cases, our witness is of the presence of Christ (in speaking His words), the character of Christ (in courage and boldness), the wisdom of Christ (in purposing to exalt the humble and humble the proud) and the power of Christ (in view of His ultimate triumph). In such cases, it is also our testimony of the presence of evil (that they would judge God’s own), the error of human ways (that the powerful persecute the vulnerable), the foolishness of those who sit in ‘judgment’ (for they will be judged), and the weakness of demonic systems (which cannot even stop the testimony of an innocent and vulnerable person).
All of that is on Christ’s account. It is to His glory and happens because Jesus wants us to be witnesses. So much so that we really don’t even have a choice in the matter. We will be witnesses. Even to those over us on the earth, and even to all the earth.
No redeemed man must be in any degree an unwilling witness for his Lord.Charles Spurgeon
To be called upon to witness for Christ is an honor, for it does not fail to carry a reward. Let us then be all the more eager to witness for Him, both in season of grace and in season of difficulty.