Somebody had to tell the truth – even though nobody wanted to hear it! Everybody wants good news: healing, a restored marriage, a perfect grandchild, financial freedom, no more war, relief from everything! Wouldn't it be wonderful to be the good news messenger?
In the history of the world the enticement of power has created wars, fostered injustice and resulted in pain for generations. Our text is timely, as we focus on Isaiah's words of hope that portray the ultimate sovereign who embodies the deepest longings of the human heart.
Our today is too much like Judah's yesterday when “God's Spirit came upon Azariah, Obed's son, (and) he confronted Asa (king of Judah)” and said “listen to me” (vv. 1-2). Like ancient Israel we often have trouble recognizing what is from God and what is religious-political doublespeak. We long to hear God's voice.
How many times have you been impressed by the dramatic testimony of a missionary guest in your church or the biography of a person who survived persecution because of their faith? We thrill to the stories of Peter, John or Paul, as we should. But is it not equally impressive when someone consistently lives a Christian witness against the challenging influences of our everyday world?
Philip is one of my heroes. He is not one of the twelve apostles, or listed as a member of the ruling council of the Jerusalem church, or described as a renowned planter of churches across the Roman Empire or the author of a single New Testament letter. Philip inspires me by his appearance at key places, his concern for others and his willingness to share Christ wherever he went.
Acts is the amazing story of how the good news about Jesus Christ began breaking through all the barriers of religion and culture in the first century. The last word in Acts 28:31 is unhindered. Along with the original apostles and growing number of disciples, Philip was very involved in breaking down the walls that could block the spreading gospel. Philip appears on the scene when there is critical friction within the Jerusalem church. He helped tear down the growing wall of prejudice.