Acts 8: 26-40
26A angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south, to the deserted road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27He got up and left. On the way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important officer, in charge of all the treasures of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had come to Jerusalem to worship God and, returning home, sitting in his chariot, was reading the book of the prophet Isaiah. 29And the Spirit said to Philip, “Approach that chariot and accompany it.”
30Then Philip ran to the chariot, heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah and asked him: “Do you understand what you are reading?”
31He replied, “How can I understand if someone doesn’t explain to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit beside him.
32The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: “He was taken as a sheep to the slaughterhouse, and, like a dumb lamb before the shearer, he did not open his mouth. 33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of their descendants? For his life was taken from the earth ”.
34The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please: who is the prophet talking about? From yourself or another? ” 35Then Philip, beginning with that passage of Scripture, announced the good news of Jesus to him.
36Away along the road, they came to a place where there was water. The eunuch said, “Look, there’s water here. What prevents me from being baptized? ” 37 Philip said, “You can, if you believe with all your heart.” The eunuch replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” 38So he gave the order to stop the carriage. Then Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39When they got out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip suddenly. The eunuch did not see him again and, full of joy, went on his way. 40 Philip, however, appeared in Azotus and, going to Caesarea, preached the gospel in all the cities through which he passed.
Dear brothers, here is a historical excerpt, that is, the documentation of a fact. Unlike Jesus’ parables, this passage is not an allegory to serve as an example, it is a narrative. Let us then draw from this passage some teaching for our lives. Although we have an evident miracle in this section (Filipe’s “teleportation”) we are not going to focus on that. Today’s message is: be ready!
To begin by exercising your brain, reflect for a moment: who was ready in this text? Was it Philip? Was it the Ethiopian? Was he the coachman of the carriage? Well, as the Bible doesn’t give us any further details about the coachman, let’s look at the sides of Philip and the Ethiopian.
About Philip, it is worth mentioning that there are 2 distinct Philip: one was the apostle Philip of Jesus, who stayed in Jerusalem according to Acts 8: 1. The Philip of our history today is the Philip Evangelist, who was dispersed throughout the region of Samaria according to Acts 8: 5.
Philip was part of the early church meetings, but it was only in Acts 6: 5 that he began to “work” for the work of God. But this was only possible because Philip was a man “… of good testimony, full of the Spirit and wisdom.” Criteria established by the apostles for choosing deacons in Acts 6: 3:
Acts 6: 1-5
1In those days, the number of disciples growing, the Greek-speaking Jews among them complained about the Hebrew-speaking Jews6.1 Or Aramaic, because their widows were being forgotten in the daily distribution of food. 2Therefore, the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to serve the tables. 3 Brothers, choose among you seven men of good testimony, filled with the Spirit and wisdom. We will pass on this task 4 to them and dedicate ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word ”.
5 This proposal pleased everyone. So they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, as well as Philip, Prokoro, Nicanor, Timon, Pármenas and Nicholas, a convert to Judaism from Antioch. 6 These men were introduced to the apostles, who prayed and laid hands on them.
It is important to note in this passage what was Philip’s preparation. He was not anxious to be a deacon, as this function did not yet exist in the church. The diaconate began when the church grew and a corps of helpers became necessary. Philip, however, without any special pretensions, tried to be correct in his behavior. This resulted in his choice by church members, not by the apostles.
In Acts 8: 4-5 we see that Philip was already a preacher of the word, that is, he was not accommodated with the function of helping the apostles in church meetings. Philip must have dedicated himself to learning more about the Kingdom of God, about the life and lessons of Jesus. Thus, once again when it was necessary, Philip was sent to preach the word, passing from deacon to evangelist.
Glory to God!
Summary of this excerpt: be ready! Don’t settle or be disappointed or anxious about waiting. When the time comes, God will put you where He needs you. And you still don’t even know which place it is!
By switching to our other character, the Ethiopian, we can see another side of Christian life. The Bible tells us that he was “… an important officer, in charge of all the treasures of the queen of the Ethiopians.” In this way he did not work for the church, did not attend meetings, did not aspire to be a deacon, pastor, etc. However, in Acts 8:27 it is written that he “… came to Jerusalem to worship God …”, that is, he sought to be close to God.
Although there are studies on this character, the Bible does not mention how he met the Lord, who gave him a copy of the scriptures or any other information about his previous conduct. We know, however, that he “… read the book of the prophet Isaiah.” This is enough for our study.
We have here an ordinary person, a successful worker, with great responsibilities and many “secular” tasks who know and adore God, seeking to learn more and more: reading the Bible.
When he was ready, with doubts to be clarified, God sent Philip to him. Philip’s attitude was not to point out to man his faults and sins. Philip “… beginning with that passage of Scripture, announced the good news of Jesus.” Note that out of the Ethiopian’s doubt, Philip introduced Jesus to him, which was enough for man to convert and accept Christ as his savior.
The Bible does not mention what this new convert did after his baptism. It is written that “… full of joy, went on his way.” We don’t know how far this is, but we know that whatever it was, it was full of joy!
Glory to God!
Summary of this excerpt: be ready! Seek God wherever you are and in whatever way possible. Your dedication will be seen by God and He will send you what you need to continue your journey as a Christian.
Let us pray:
Dear God, careful father. Thank you for giving us everything we need to continue our lives as Christians. Whether actively in your work or as a simple child of yours, help us to seek more and more and depend more and more on you. It calms our heart and our anxiety. By the name of our Master and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen!