By Gene Price
Pastor, Tumbling Creek Baptist Church, Gleason
God always puts people, places, and events together to serve His purposes. We see this in the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. Philip was involved in a revival at Samaria that God tremendously blessed. Many people were coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Suddenly God decides to lead Philip out into the desert to witness to the Ethiopian eunuch.
In Acts 8:26-27a, Philip is submissive to the will of God. An angel spoke to Philip and told him to go down from Jerusalem to Gaza and Philip arose and went. Philip was obedient to God and did not question God. Philip was so committed to God that he does exactly what God tells him to do. Many interpret “towards the south” as meaning that it was high noon when Philip was supposed to go to the desert. No one would be on a desert road at noon. Philip does not question God’s timing or the direction that God sent him. He simply obeyed God. God did not tell Philip what his next step would be, but to simply go to the desert.
In the desert, Philip meets another man traveling down the road — the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:27b). Philip finds that God has provided him with an opportunity to share the gospel and that this eunuch is ready to receive God’s message. This eunuch was seeking God with his whole heart. He had been to Jerusalem to worship and was on his way home, reading the Scriptures as he traveled. This man was probably the second most powerful man in his country, as he was in charge of the treasury. He had traveled 1,200 miles to Jerusalem and was returning back to Ethiopia empty inside because he could not worship in the temple (Deuteronomy 23:1) nor was he allowed to offer sacrifices. He had been to Jerusalem, yet he was returning with the same hungry heart and the same unmet spiritual needs as when he left. This man was seeking something that power and influence could not fill. He was searching for God and he couldn’t find Him unless someone led him. Because Philip was obedient to God, God prepared the heart of the eunuch for his witness.
The Spirit of God did not just prepare the right person and the right place for His work, He also prepared the right time. In Acts 8:28-35, God tells Philip to go to the chariot and he discovers the eunuch reading from Isaiah 53:7-8. Like any unbeliever, he does not understand what he was reading and needed someone to guide him. He didn’t get the needed help in Jerusalem, but he kept seeking after God. Because the eunuch was concerned about spiritual things and because he was searching for the truth, God leads him to the truth. Philip explained that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies found in the book of Isaiah about the Messiah. This eunuch simply trusted Jesus and was saved. Christian tradition tells us that the eunuch’s first convert was Queen Candice, herself.
Herschel Hobbs points out that there are two approaches in sharing the gospel. The first is to live it, so that others can see the gospel through our lives. Philip lived his life in such a way that people saw the power of God in his life (8:6). Yet Philip also talked about his faith demonstrated by this encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch. Everyone should live so that people see Jesus in our lives. But along with that, we should be a living testimony and also open our mouths and “speak” about Jesus.