The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.
– Isaiah 61:1-2a ESV
Daily Reading: Today’s bible reading is Acts 8.
I took a class on preaching last year in seminary. While one might wonder how much there is to be said about preaching, it turns out there is quite a lot. I enjoyed the class immensely. In one of my preaching text books, the author went through all the words in both the Old and New Testament that where used when describing the proclamation of God’s word. One of those words that most resonated with me shows up in our passage today.
There was a man named Saul (we’ll see him again tomorrow) who was going around arresting Christians and persecuting the church. Acts 8:4 says this about what was happening”
“Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word.” – Acts 8:4 ESV
The rest of the chapter focuses on a man named Philip and how God used him to advance the Gospel. I want to briefly focus on one word out of this one verse.
Preaching. Perhaps you don’t think of yourself as a preacher. That’s OK! But look at who is “preaching.” All the Christians who were scattered. So this gives us a clue that it doesn’t mean everyone had their own pulpit and gave a 30 minute sermon each week. This word translated “preaching” in Acts 8:4 is the word I learned in my preaching class: Evangelizo. It means, “To announce joyful news.” What a wonderful description of what we get to do as Christians! We go about announcing joyful news.
Sometimes the idea of sharing our faith can be overwhelming and intimidating. Sometimes we may feel that we don’t have the right words to say, or that we won’t be well received. I want to encourage with this simple truth. Evangelism is simply announcing joyful news. “We’re having a baby!” “I got a new job!” “I made an A!” Joyful news isn’t hard to announce. “I have freedom in Jesus and you can too. Can I tell you about it?” “God wants to carry that burden for you. Can I tell you about it?” “There is a way of life that is still hard but has a lot of joy. Can I tell you about it?” Joyful news.
Notice that this joyful news was going out even though the church was being scattered because of persecution. Sometimes people best see the hope we have in Jesus when we go through trials still singing praises. Go through your day today knowing you have joyful news to share. Even in the rough patches, for those who believe, we have a wonderful joy giving hope. Let’s let it out as the Lord gives opportunity.
Grace & Peace.