Scriptures

When Not To Be Silent, Part 2

Introduction

‘The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ ‘Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?’ Nathanael asked. ‘Come and see,’ said Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, ‘Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.’ ‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Then Nathanael declared, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.’ Jesus said, ‘You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.’ He then added, ‘Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.’ John 1:43-51

Jesus had just called Philip to be his disciple and straight away, he sprang into action. He found Nathanael and told him the good news of Jesus in very simple words: ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ John.1:45. Our concern here is not the response of Nathanael but the fact that Philip understood the responsibilities associated with being a disciple of Jesus.

After being called, Philip knew that it was important to let others know about the One who was being expected to bring salvation to the world: Jesus, the Messiah! At the earliest opportunity, he told Nathanael about Jesus. Whether or not Nathanael believed him was not Philip’s responsibility, but what was important was to pass on the simple message of redemption as soon as possible.

As Christians, we have the charge to preach the gospel. There are opportunities that regularly present themselves as we interact with our non-Christian families, neighbours, friends, work colleagues and others.

The message of the cross does not require any complications. It can be simply communicated to others. The gospel itself is God’s power to save sinners. Our eloquence, excellence of speech, hours of preaching, etc, may not really be the requirements for helping others to turn to Jesus.

In Acts 8, Philip met the Ethiopian Eunuch on his way from Jerusalem and he explained to him a passage in the book of Isaiah which the Eunuch had been reading. Whilst still on the way, the Eunuch requested to be baptised. That did not seem like the outcome of a long period of preaching. Like Philip, let us make the most of the time, not keeping silent as we see great opportunities to share the gospel.

‘Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means ‘queen of the Ethiopians’). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’ Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked. ‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?’ So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading: ‘He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.’ The eunuch asked Philip, ‘Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?’ Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they travelled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?’ And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and travelled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.’ Acts.8:26-40

Prayer

Everlasting Father of our Lord Jesus, we are grateful for the gospel through which we are saved. We ask that You give us the boldness to convey the gospel to others and not be silent when opportunities come our way. Amen.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

Acts 2:38

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