Immediately after his confrontation of Simon the Sorcerer, in the middle of the amazing things happening in Samaria, Philip is sent out to the desert.
Acts 8 | Philip and the Ethiopian
26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
Philip is living in a world where miracles are everyday occurrences. This story begins with the appearance of an angel and ends with teleportation.
The Ethiopian official might have thought it was a coincidence that Philip happened to be on the road at that time. But it was a divine appointment.
What we can learn from Philip
- Jesus knows where we need to be, and it’s not always obvious.
- It seemed obvious that Philip was in the middle of doing God’s work.
- Logic would dictate that he should spend his time there, not roaming the countryside.
- Sometimes Jesus takes us out to the desert.
- These desert trips often happen in the middle of the action.
- Jesus knows why you’re going out to the desert road. You have to trust Him.
- When we listen to Jesus’ direction, amazing things can happen.
- There is great purpose in this request, but it isn’t immediately obvious. It’s just one man. But he has great influence.
- Philip’s work is entirely redirected, and the message of Jesus spreads to an area he will never visit. His reach is extended exponentially by this one encounter.
- If we listen, Jesus will put us in the right place at the right time.
What we can learn from the Ethiopian official
- When you are seeking God, He’ll find you.
- He was open and actively seeking to understand the truth.
- Jesus went to incredible lengths to send him a teacher.
- There is a great difference between information and understanding.
- Our modern culture values self-discovery over teaching.
- We have access to unprecedented levels of information, but without a guide, we can get overloaded and confused.
- For every truth, there is a lie on the internet, stated with plausibility and passion.
- The Ethiopian had access to Isaiah (information), but he needed a teacher.
- When you find the truth, act on it immediately.
- The Ethiopian is immediately baptized in the name of Jesus when he understands the message.
- Have you ever felt in the past like Jesus led you into the desert? What was the result?
- How are you listening for direction from Jesus as you make everyday choices? What can you do to be more open to His leading?
- Do you have good teachers that help you understand and interpret information?
- How do you discern the difference between truth and lies?