Bible Society of South Africa

People are part of God’s plan: God calls – Philip goes – 23 May 2022

By Carina Francke

Bible text(s)

Philip and the Ethiopian Official

26An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get ready and go south to the road that goes from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This road is not used nowadays.)

An angel of the Lord brought about that Philip, a ministering evangelist in Samaria, would be at a place where he could converse with an important Ethiopian man. This man would listen, believe and eventually proclaim the Gospel in his own country. Philip was not concerned about the future of his own ministry. No! He realised that this new mission-field-to-be, would be vitally important for those who would become part of it. Therefore, he departed immediately. Yes, I am aware that most modern ministers would attempt to prevent such a situation – one simply did not act impulsively! But if the Lord speaks, one listens and one acts!

Whatever it may have been, when he arrived there, the Spirit told Philip to go over and join the chariot. (Acts 8:29) The traveller was an Ethiopian eunuch, and court official, who came to Jerusalem to worship. He was reading from Isaiah 53:7-8 but did not understand what he was reading. Philip used this Scripture in the Old Testament to link the metaphor of the “mute” sheep and the “mute” lamb with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He emphasised that Jesus did not once speak a negative word when he was innocently condemned to death!

The reason for his silence? My life, your life, and the life of every human being who would be born in future, had to be ransomed from the curse of sin. It was a matter of Jesus’ life in exchange for ours! This is not yet the end of the important official’s spiritual journey. On their way they came to water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! Why shouldn’t I be baptised? (Acts 8:36, NIV) Both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptised him. (Acts 8:38)

But something strange happened. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly carried Philip away. He was later found in Ashdod, an ancient Philistine capital where he continued his calling and ministry, preaching the gospel in all towns until he reached Caesarea. His willingness to go wherever the Lord wanted to use him, accentuates the urgency of bringing the Gospel to all people. Even in the here and now!

Can you see the hand of the Lord and his Spirit working in the lives of Philip and the Ethiopian official? The Lord’s creativity in bringing people together to meet and know him has no bounds. All he requires from us and all believers out there, is our willingness to collaborate with Him … as Called Ones! As Co-workers!

Prayer: Father, without receptive ears and obedient hearts, your children cannot respond to the inspiration of the Spirit, or the voice of the angel of the Lord. May I ask you to ignite a desire in the hearts of your children to get to know you better and to respond enthusiastically to your calling on their lives. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.10
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