Philip Goes to Samaria then to the Ends of the Earth
After they had further proclaimed the word of the Lord and testified about Jesus, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”
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, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet.
The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. ’
Acts 8:25-31 NIV Read More
Remember one of the only things that Jesus said in the book of Acts?
‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
So far just about everything that has happened has happened in Jerusalem. On Pentecost, all kinds of people left Jerusalem for the “ends of the earth” but we haven’t gotten back to their story. Peter and John finally headed out to Samaria after Philip caused an uproar, but then it was back to Jerusalem they went.
Now, God has more plans for Philip and the ends of the earth.
If you’ve ever thought that God was unclear about what He was calling you to do, then you need to have dinner with Philip in Heaven someday. God didn’t tell him to go to Gaza, He told Philip to go hang out on the road that went to Gaza.
This is like telling him to go hang out on I-70 that runs past Corydon. And he did it.
It gets crazier than that.
This man is a eunuch, which means that he’s given up having any heirs and is in charge of the Queen of Ethiopia’s treasure. It’s all hers. He had no incentive to keep any for himself or his descendants. His only family is his work for the Queen.
He has a scroll of Isaiah, which is totally a black market commodity. He is not Jewish. He is not from Jerusalem. Eunuchs were unable to enter the temple for worship. Under many rules of the Pharisees, he should not have this scroll.
But here we are, with Philip, on the road to Gaza. The Ethiopian is reading the scroll out loud, which was the customary thing to do if you were literate.
The Ethiopian rich guy is reading the scroll of Isaiah in Hebrew.
As he rides past Philip.
Sometimes God throws us a slow ball – one too easy to miss.
Pray today that God would do such easy evangelism in us today. It’s ok to be bold and willing to go stand by a road or in some other unclear places and watch for God to work. He loves us all so much. He wants to reach out to the lost and use even the recently-found to do the reaching.