May 20, 2023
by Larry Hopp
Creighton University - Retired       
click here for photo and information about the writer

Saturday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 296  

Acts 18:23-28
Psalm 47:2-3, 8-9, 10
John 15:12-17

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Today’s readings provide us with an unmistakable directive to use our lives to point to Jesus.  We are not just directed to be evangelists, but we are given specifics on how to accomplish that sacred task.  We see that we all in fact have been blessed with the God given talent and power to accomplish this life changing directive.

The foundation of this directive begins with Paul.  In today’s readings we find him in the midst of his third missionary journey.  He has traveled hundreds of miles effectively reaching people for Christ.  The Bible talks a lot about his success as a “super evangelist”, a man God was effectively using.

With that as a foundation, enter Apollos.  He sounds like an ordinary guy. He was a native of the Egyptian city of Alexandria, a long way away from the city of Ephesus where we first meet him.  He was a Jew and had some talents, but certainly was not an expert on Jesus.  Perhaps that description would suit many of us.  An ordinary man or woman with knowledge of Jesus who find ourselves perhaps in a new location and not so sure that we are really qualified or the best one to start winning souls for our Savior.  We certainly do not view ourselves as Paul. 

Yet, what does God do with this ordinary man?  He brings people (a married couple - Priscilla and Aquila) alongside him to share their experience, their knowledge of Jesus. Apollos simply had to be open to learning from others to help him to grow in his faith.  Priscilla and Aquila were not apostles or original disciples of our Lord.  They seemed to be ordinary people that God was using to help Apollos become a more effective man of God. 

The story doesn’t end there, Apollos’ friends stepped up to encourage him.  That encouragement is another important part of our directive to win souls for Christ.  That encouragement included writing letters to ensure Apollos continues to be welcomed.  The result, not surprisingly, was that Apollos gave great assistance to those who came to believe through grace.  
In this story, God is reminding us that we, like Apollos, have many opportunities to make a difference - to be used by Him.  We do not need to have an earth-shaking experience as did Paul on the road to Damascus.  We are simply called to reach out to teach and encourage, to make a difference, to share our story.  We really are no different than Priscilla, Aquila and even Apollos.  God chose to tell us their story to show us how powerfully He can use us ordinary people for the advancement of His kingdom. 

Of course, we are not in this calling alone.  Our psalm helps us never to forget that our mighty God is the king over all the earth.  He is in complete control.  He certainly has the power to effectively use us ordinary people to accomplish His amazing will.

Less we ever doubt that the king of all the earth has the power to use us with all our short comings, in today’s gospel Jesus reminds us that our Father God hears us and provides for us so that our joy may be complete.  This joy is an important part of being effectively used by Christ.  Believing in Jesus empowers us to use our lives to joyfully point to God.  We each have been given the passion and God given effectiveness of Apollos.  Our faith allows God to use us ordinary people to share our incredible, unsurpassed JOY. 

Dear Heavenly Father, we are so thankful that you have intricately woven throughout your Holy Word, the lives of ordinary people to remind us that we all can indeed make a difference for Him. To be the man & woman we were created to be.  Help each of us to boldly follow your calling.  To share the simply incredible joy found in following our Lord and Savior.  A joy that only He can provide.

In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

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