Now we get to one of my favorite stories in the book of Acts. Philip was one of the Seven appointed back in chapter 6 to oversee the handling of charity to Grecian widows. He was also a miracle worker, as we saw a couple of days ago. Unlike some of his fellow (Jewish) brothers, he apparently was on the forefront of actually obeying 1:8. There was a lot of animosity between Jews and Samaritans, and unfortunately it looks like some of that antipathy carried over into the church for a while. But there’s no indication that any of this bigotry afflicted Philip.
So the Holy Spirit directed Philip to an appointment with someone who was ready to receive the Good News. Friend, if you’re doing what the Lord’s called you to do, and you have a heart for sharing the Message and seeing people come to faith in Christ, then you’d be amazed at the Divine Appointments you’ll experience. I have a challenge for you, if you’re not chicken. Every day for one week, I want you to pray “Father, give me an opportunity today to share the Good News with someone who needs it.” I promise you, you’ll see more doors open up than you know what to do with. Even if you’re not adept at sharing your faith (which is understandable), you can least drop Christ’s name into a conversation or invite someone to church. Do a good deed and tell the recipient that you’re doing it in the name of your Savior.
Philip came upon a man riding in an open chariot, and started walking alongside it. The Eunuch (a person of considerable political responsibility) was apparently a God-fearer—someone who believed in the God of Israel and the Scriptures but who'd not become a full convert to Judaism. Assuming that he was a true Eunuch, he wouldn’t have been able to really convert, since he wouldn’t be allowed into the Temple. This man longed for God, and was searching for him in God’s word, an excellent place to start.
Philip asked him if he understood what he was reading, and the Eunuch asked the $64,000 question: “How can I, unless someone explains it to me?” “Well, friend, this is your lucky day! By sheer coincidence, I’m willing and able to do that for you!”
I've heard of people coming to faith in Christ just by reading a Bible. They read through John’s Gospel, then got to Romans, and that was enough. God occasionally does that. But most of the time he uses people like you and me to explain his word to them. We’re not ultimately necessary—it’s not as if he actually needs us—but when the sovereign Lord chooses us to step in and make clear to someone from Scripture what they need to know, and they respond. . .WOW!!!! There’s nothing in this world that beats the thrill, trust me! And there’s no greater honor and privilege that humanity has ever been granted than to do that.
Philip explained the Good News about Jesus to the Eunuch, and the Lord had been preparing him for this moment. He was ready to officially place his faith in Christ. Philip was convinced that the man was ready, and they went ahead and baptized the new convert then and there.
Then to cap off this incredible story, Philip was whisked away (can we say teleported?) from the Eunuch’s sight and into Azotus. Church tradition says that the Eunuch went on to take the Good News into Africa, and I hope that’s true.
So are you ready for the challenge? Do you want to see doors open to share Christ’s love in word and deed, or are you stuck in your Comfort Zone?
Lord Jesus, I have a confession to make. Most of the time, it’s not that I don’t have open doors in front of me. It’s because I’ve ignored the doors which are not only open but have a great big neon sign over them. Please forgive me, and give me your heart for the lost.