Witnesses of Union and Love



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Luke 10:21

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.”

Acts 1:8b

You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


Today, we prepare to enter the School of Union and Love with Jesus, our teacher—the Lord of Union and Love.

To do that, we need to pause, slow our pace, and consider how disciples have postured themselves for learning from Jesus for millennia. If we know what our teacher’s goal is for us as students, then we know how best to position ourselves for growth. 

In the coming days, we are going to sit at the feet of Jesus in the Gospel of John, particularly chapters 14, 15, and 17, to learn from our Rabbi and Master. We will learn what it means to live “in Christ,” and how Jesus intends to love us and others through us in our day-to-day lives. Just as Paul did, just as Mary did, just as all the disciples did—we will invite the Holy Spirit to open our hearts, revealing to us the precious and deep things of God. 

And what is Jesus’s goal in our learning, even through a daily reflection like this? The goal of the Lord of Union and Love is to train witnesses, not just students, for extending his loving ministry in the world. As my friend J. D. Walt says, “A witness is a disciple on fire.” A student, even a disciple, may falter—but a witness is unstoppable. A witness encounters Christ’s love, is changed by that encounter, and then bears witness to that encounter to the world God loves (John 3:16). 

And the only appropriate posture for becoming a witness, according to Jesus, is to come to him as a child (Matt. 18:2–3). Children are open—open to growing, open to learning, and open to mimicking and becoming like the one who is teaching them. Paul had to become like a child on the road to Damascus, humbled and ready to learn, from Jesus himself, what union with God in Christ was all about.

In John 3, Jesus is speaking to the astute and highly studied religious leader, Nicodemus. Nicodemus knows the Hebrew scriptures inside and out. He is smart and knowledgeable. But he comes to Jesus as a student. He comes tender and curious. We can almost sense his childlike heart in the text. Jesus baffles him by saying he must be “born again” (John 3:3), born of the flesh and born of the Spirit. Nicodemus would need to lay down all he had known before in order to become like a child before he could fully experience what Jesus was teaching.

Come like a child.

That’s the way the Lord of Union and Love trains witnesses. He starts by inviting us to come with innocence, openness, trust, and expectation. From that posture, what he reveals can be absorbed, applied, and lived.

In Luke 10:21 Jesus is filled with joy about this learning posture in his apprentices. “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.’”

He then says to Nicodemus a few words about being a witness of God’s works: “Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen . . .” (John 3:11). In other words: “Become like a child, Nicodemus. Be born of the Spirit and start again, start new, in me. Become a witness of what God is doing right before your eyes.”

And that is why there is no use running just another Bible study about being united with Christ and experiencing the love of God. In the school of Jesus, there is only usefulness in running a witness study. Witnesses see, experience, and apply what they are learning. Please hear me, studying the Bible plays a huge part in us becoming discipled witnesses of what Jesus can do in and through us. But if Bible study is the extent of our discipleship, then the written Word of God, left unapplied, remains unbelieved.

In other words, Jesus is not interested in simply educating and informing us about how to “know this love that surpasses knowledge” and how to live in “all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19). Jesus is not interested in giving us lectures, reviewing the material, and then serving up a test on what we have come to know about abiding in Christ.

The early disciples heard Jesus’s teaching, but they also witnessed Jesus living in union with the Father, the Spirit moving through him. They became Witnesses of Union and Love. They saw the power of love that flowed from that trinitarian intimacy and mission. They wanted to be a part of that family, that relational community, that new way of life (Acts 5:20). 

And because they saw that new life in living color, in Jesus, they could bear testimony to it. Apprenticing alongside Jesus, applying his teaching in real-time with real feedback, they became his trained witnesses (Acts 1:8). They even became the unified body, united “in heart and mind,” just as Jesus had prayed (John 17:21–24; Acts 4:32). They practiced what they preached about being in one accord with Jesus, and in one accord with one another (Acts 2:1; Acts 4:32–35).

So I want to welcome you to become a witness through what we will discover in the teaching of Jesus over these next days. Ask Jesus to apply every insight to your life, and then lean in, moment by moment, each day. His goal is that we would become his apprentices, his witnesses—those who live like he lives, love like he loves, and do what he does in our homes and neighborhoods (Luke 11:28).

With our Prayer for Union and Love from Ephesians 3:14–21 in our hearts (feel free to pray it every morning as we continue), and with the story of Paul’s conversion in Acts 9 before us (as he became the Apostle of Union and Love), we now enter the School of Union and Love with the Lord of Union and Love—to become Witnesses of Union and Love.

We will do this all in the presence of Jesus.


Lord Jesus, I am in you and you are in me. I come as a little child, ready to learn all you would have me to learn, and to experience all you would want me to experience. I want to be a disciple on fire, a true witness of what it means to live in you and have you live in and through me. In Christ Jesus, I pray, amen.


Are you ready to become a witness, a true “disciple on fire” of Jesus? How could you posture yourself, like Paul, to learn at the feet of Jesus and apply his teaching? What adult attitudes might you need to put off, and what childlike attitudes might you need to put on?

For the Awakening,
Dan Wilt 

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. The first requirement of becoming a follower/witness of Jesus is to empty one’s mind of all preconceived notions about union in Christ. The second step is the willingness to receive from the Spirit what is given from Christ. The third and most important step is to be doers of the Word, and not merely hearer’s. In other words, what really matters is faith expressing itself through love.

  2. Christ’s witnesses are led by His inner promptings, not by their own desires and impulses. We can only witness to what we’ve experienced. Christ’s witnesses cultivate the inner fire of His Spirit. They don’t quench it.

    People who obey Christ’ inner promptings begin to live like He’s alive. They begin to do what He says and to love (even their enemies) like He loves.

    To be a witness do what Christ’s inner promptings ask, not what bossy impulses demand. It’s easy to obey enticing impulses but it takes great courage to obey Christ’s inner promptings. Impulses are intrusive and pushy compulsions. Christ’s promptings are gentle and polite inner nudgings.

    A culture caught up in confusion calls deception perception and lies truth. It needs Christ’s witnesses to speak the truth in love and to demonstrate His presence by their behaviors. Impulses imprison people in compulsive behaviors. Christ’s promptings set them free to follow Him and witness to His reality.

    The body of Christ without Christ’s direct, personal and ongoing leadership and Headship quickly slips into human hierarchy and religious tradition. Christ’s witnesses call people beyond routine religion and into obedience to the inner promptings of the living Jesus.

    When you call deception
    Your truth
    You lose your perception
    Of the truth.

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