One of our daughters lives in a small town in Michigan, USA, and for many years, we went there for a week in the spring and again in the fall. Every afternoon, I went for a long walk, and over the years, I got to see most of that town. On my walks, I would see two old churches: a Presbyterian and a Methodist. In front of it, the Methodist Church has one of those signs with big letters giving the name of the minister and the time of worship. It also has an eye-catching slogan. One time, it said, "Tell them about Jesus; if necessary, use words."
I thought about that when I saw it. We have different ways of telling people that we are Christians: they see us going to church; we belong to a Christian choir; we volunteer in Christian activities; we have roast beef dinners at the church; and people from the community see us working there. But if we really want to tell people about Jesus, we have to use words.
When we studied the Book of Acts at the Long Term Care Centre, we looked at the story of the treasurer of Ethiopia who had been to Jerusalem. He had visited the temple, and he had obtained a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He wanted to learn more about the God of Israel. Now, on his way home, he is sitting in his carriage reading these writings, but he does not understand what he is reading:
Acts 8:32-33 – The place in the Scripture which he read was this: "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will declare his generation? For his life is taken from the earth." (NKJV)
Is it any wonder that he did not understand this? And as he sat there reading this complicated passage from Isaiah 53:7-8, he saw someone walking beside his carriage, and this man asked him,
Acts 8:30b-31 – "Do you understand what you are reading?" And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. (NKJV)
It was Philip, an evangelist from Caesarea, and the treasurer asked him who the prophet was talking about — himself, or some other man? "Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him." (Acts 8:35 NKJV)
I'm sure that he told him about the baby born in Bethlehem, and the child Jesus in the temple, and His baptism in the river Jordan, and the people He healed, and the parables He told. And He certainly would have told him about His arrest and crucifixion and His resurrection and how He was seen by many before His ascension into heaven. He would have told him that and much, much more. He told him about Jesus. And the treasurer believed, was baptized, and went on his way rejoicing, so the Bible says. All the beauty of the temple, the priests in their fancy robes, and the rituals he had seen had not spoken to his heart, but those plain words spoken by Philip made him say, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." (Acts 8:37 NKJV)
There are times when we need to just tell people about Jesus plain and simple. Like the sign said, tell them about Jesus, and use words.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, there are so many people who don't know about Jesus, so many people who are searching for peace in their hearts. We pray that we will have the desire and the ability to tell them about Jesus. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "As Pants The Hart For Cooling Streams" (Lyrics)