INTO ALL THE WORLD

Opening Prayer

Thank you, God, for the power of the Bible and for the truth it holds. Please speak to me through it today.

Read ACTS 8:26–40

Philip and the Ethiopian

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian[a] eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
    and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
    Who can speak of his descendants?
    For his life was taken from the earth.”[b]

34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” [37] [c] 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

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Footnotes

  1. Acts 8:27 That is, from the southern Nile region
  2. Acts 8:33 Isaiah 53:7,8 (see Septuagint)
  3. Acts 8:37 Some manuscripts include here Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” The eunuch answered, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Meditate

May we open our eyes to see the extent of the growth of God’s kingdom.

Think Further

As we saw at the beginning of these studies, Luke’s intention is to describe the growth of the Christian movement from Jerusalem, via the cities of the eastern empire, to the imperial capital of Rome. In other words, the thrust of the story he tells is westward, into what we know as Europe. However, there are indications that this missionary thrust was accompanied by the spread of the good news in other directions beyond the Roman Empire. One of those indications comes when we discover Saul of Tarsus heading eastward to Damascus to root out members of the Way in that city.1 Our passage today provides more evidence of the universal significance of Jesus Christ. This expansion is south, toward Ethiopia and the mighty continent of Africa.

It would be easy in reading Acts to imagine that these other movements were passing incidents and that the main event takes place on European soil, creating the foundation for a Christian civilization that will, centuries later, become the base for world mission. That is the way we have invariably thought of Christian history, but the eastward movement continued, reaching into India and even to China. Meanwhile, Philip’s obedience to the prompting of the Spirit to head toward Gaza resulted in an African conversion. This began the story of churches along the North African coast, among the Coptic peoples of Egypt and down into Ethiopia. Andrew Walls noted that by the year 635 a Chinese emperor welcomed Christians into his court at about the same time that Edwin, King of Northumbria, led his people to follow Christ. ‘At this period’, Walls says, Christianity is ‘present, active, and growing from the Atlantic almost to the Pacific and with outposts from Siberia to Sri Lanka.’2

Apply

Let your imagination loose on verse 39 and the convert who ‘went on his way rejoicing.’

Closing prayer

Holy Spirit, help me to be sensitive to what you are doing in the people I meet and speak life-changing truth through me.

Last Updated on June 11, 2024 by kingstar

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