As we approach Christmas-time, proclamation becomes a popular word in the Christian vocabulary. To proclaim means to announce officially or publicly and we often think of this word in connection to the angelic hosts who brought people the first news of the birth of Jesus. One of the key phrases at the start of Jesus’ earthly ministry was to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God (Luke 4:43, Luke 8:1) and proclamation is therefore an important type of evangelism, as Philip demonstrates in this chapter. (Acts 8:12)
Luke uses different words for evangelism in the book of Acts, often translated into English as ‘proclaiming’ (see Acts 4:2, Acts 8:5, Acts 8:25). There is a place for speaking out the truths of God’s word in evangelism, and this does not have to be reserved for those in leadership or with a particular preaching ministry. All those scattered to Judea and Samaria ‘preached the word’ wherever they went. (Acts 8:4) They were willing to share the good news about Jesus: how He had died for our sins and been raised to life again by the power of the Spirit and how God’s Holy Spirit now comes upon us to help us bear witness to Him. (Acts 1:8) We are all called to proclaim the good news (Luke 9:6) which involves sharing what God has done for us (Ps 107:2) and we need to be prepared to give a reason, when asked, for the hope we have (see 1 Pet 3:15). This means having ‘a joyful confidence in [the] truth, relevance and power [of the gospel.]’ (John Stott) As Rend Collective sing, ‘there is good news for the captive/ good news for the shamed/ There is good news for the one the world ignores.’ (‘Rescuer’) We have good news to share – let’s do it!
‘No matter what, we have good news and that good news has a name and that name is Jesus Christ.’ (Gareth Gilkeson)