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Sunday, 10 July 2022
Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Acts 8:35
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)
You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).
In the previous verse, the Ethiopian eunuch asked who Isaiah was referring to in the passage that he had read. Now, Luke notes Philip’s response. For a more precise translation, this and the next verb are aorist participles – “Then Philip, having opened his mouth, and having begun at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.” With this understood, they can be looked at, beginning with, “Then Philip having opened his mouth.”
This is a common term, a Hebraism, that is used when a purposeful utterance is made. When referring to a living being, it actually goes back to the Lord opening the mouth of the donkey in Numbers 22 –
“Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?’” Numbers 22:28
This phrase continues to be used throughout the Old Testament to indicate such a considered and purposeful utterance –
“Give ear, O my people, to my law;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old.” Psalm 78:1, 2
It then continues on into the New Testament as well –
“And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them.” Matthew 5:1, 2
It is with such an intentional and fixed purpose that Philips speaks. With that, Luke next notes, “and beginning at this Scripture.” Jesus said to the leaders of Israel –
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” John 5:39, 40
The Ethiopian eunuch has been reading prophecy. As such, Philip began with prophecy. The eunuch was reading Isaiah. As such, Philip began with Isaiah. The words of Isaiah were about the Suffering Servant. As such, Philip began with this depiction. By beginning with this and building upon it, Luke next records that Philip “preached Jesus to him.”
The word is the same one, euaggelizó, already seen three times in this chapter (8:4, 12, & 25). It means “to announce good news.” The Ethiopian eunuch is hearing the good news of Jesus Christ. Philip has obeyed his calling, he has been attentive to the duties associated with it, and a person who was once far off is being drawn near through the preaching of the good news. The results of this will be seen as the narrative continues.
Life application: The best place to start talking about Jesus to someone is whatever place in Scripture that you are in the word at any given time. If you are in a passage about the creation, you can begin with that passage in relation to Him as the Creator. If you are in a passage about someone sinning (like David and Bathsheba), you can begin with the fallen state of man and our relation to Jesus as the Redeemer.
If you are in the book of Exodus and the construction of the tabernacle, you can begin with that and talk about Jesus as the fulfillment of the types and shadows given in anticipation of His body, meaning His tabernacle (see John 1:14). If you are in Leviticus, you can start there and tell how Jesus is the One to cleanse us from defilement, He is our Sacrifice for sins, and He is our Healer and Sanctifier. And so on. If you are in the books of the prophets, you can begin with Jesus as the embodiment of prophecy and the One to whom all prophecy finds its Source, purpose, and ultimate fulfillment. And so on.
There is no part of the Bible that cannot be used to tell about Jesus because it is all ultimately pointing us to Him. Don’t be afraid to simply think it through and then open your mouth and share the good news! Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! It is all about Jesus!
Lord God, help us to always be ready to speak about You, especially right from Your word. There is always a connection that can be made about Him because it was all given to lead us to Him and to reveal Him. Give us wisdom in this, O God. And give us boldness in our speech as well. To Your glory! Amen.