by Maria Rudolph
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‘Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus’ (Acts 8:35).
If you follow these devotions every day, you will notice the progression in our readings. We first met Philip on the day Jesus said to follow him. Philip immediately went and told his friend Nathanael about Jesus. Philip continued to share the good news of Jesus – and we find him telling it in our reading today. Philip still had the death and resurrection of his teacher Jesus fresh in his mind when he approached the chariot of an important Ethiopian official, who happened to be reading the same passage from the Book of Isaiah that we read for our devotion a couple of days ago – a passage so obviously foretelling the redeeming death of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb.
Imagine the passion and excitement with which Philip must have explained the good news to this man! After all, he had walked with Jesus himself. By now, he was able to see the fulfilment of Scripture in Jesus and convey it to others.
It doesn’t happen all too often that someone asks you to actually explain Scripture, does it? Even though we often go by the principle of ‘letting our light shine’ so others may notice Christ in our actions, the next step of someone actually noticing doesn’t often occur. At some point, words about Jesus need to make that connection obvious. Note, Philip asks the eunuch an inviting opening question. May we ask every day that the Holy Spirit would give us thought-provoking openings to people who come into our life, so they want to know more about Jesus. It requires boldness – not a boldness that comes from within ourselves, but a boldness the Lord gives us.
Another bold witness to Christ, St Paul, encourages us in 1 Peter 3:15, ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect’.
Note also that Philip explains the good news starting with the eunuch’s area of interest. God gives us a hundred openings to talk about his greatness with others: a sunset, the birth of a child, a serious illness – any number of occurrences of daily life. As you drink deeply from God’s living water, his word, and are filled with his Holy Spirit daily, just like Philip, Paul and all other faithful followers of Jesus, it will be ‘out of the abundance of your heart that your mouth speaks’ (Luke 6:45).
Loving God, fill me afresh with your Holy Spirit to use the opportunities you set before me today to witness to you, by what I do and by what I say. Fill my heart to overflowing with your word so that I have the right words on my lips to answer the hope I have in you, just as Philip opened the Scriptures to the Ethiopian. In Jesus’ name, Amen.