Sunday, September 20, 2009

Philip Read the Bible
(Acts 8:4-8, 26-40)

Were you ever certain you should do something, but did not know why? Did you act on your feeling, question it, or ignore it? The Apostle Philip was successfully ministering in the city of Samaria. The people were listening. Unclean spirits were being cast out. The paralyzed were healed. People were turning from their old lives and being baptized. And there was much joy in the city. But God had new plans for Philip. God told Philip to leave Samaria and go into the desert. Whatever Philip thought about this change, he obeyed.

An angel of the Lord led Philip to a barren place on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza. There Philip met an Ethiopian eunuch—an official who served as treasurer in the court Candace, the title for the queen of Ethiopia. The official had traveled to Jerusalem to worship and he was now on his way back home. When Philip saw the official’s chariot, the Holy Spirit told Philip to go near. Philip ran up, and heard the official reading out loud from the book of Isaiah. He asked the official, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

“How can I,” he answered, “unless someone explains it to me?” The official invited Philip to sit with him.

This was the passage he was reading.“He was led as a sheep to slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he does not open his mouth. In humiliation his judgment was taken away; who will relate his generation? For his life is removed from the earth.”

The official asked whether Isaiah was speaking of himself or someone else. Philip took the opportunity and ran with it. Beginning with this Scripture passage he preached the good news of Jesus to him. This encounter was not a coincidence. The Holy Spirit’s activity is evident.

As the chariot passed water, the Ethiopian indicated his desire to be baptized. He understood and wanted to make a commitment. When they came out of the water, the Holy Spirit took Philip to witness elsewhere. The Ethiopian official continued heading south on his long journey home, rejoicing as he went.

Sometime, someplace, God will want you to share the biblical message of Jesus. It may be in someone’s home, in a store, in a gas station, or on an airplane. God may place you next to a person who needs to hear about Jesus. Will you be faithful to share your relationship with Christ?

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