Ethiopian Eunuch Evangelized by Philip

What keeps us from evangelizing? We fear rejection - 1 in 25 repent and believe. It takes 24 no’s to get a YES. But all 25 are important and we shouldn’t take it personally. Look at the rejection Jesus faced. He didn’t give up and neither should we. (Source Unkn … More

Evangelizing
This portion of Scripture shows the importance of being sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading in order to be in the right place, at the right time. Philip, who was engaged in a very successful evangelistic work in Samaria, was prompted by the Spirit of God to interrupt this ministry and go to the Gaza road (v.26). Gaza was a fortress city on the road from Jerusalem to Egypt.

Traveling on this road was an official of the Queen of Ethiopia whom we know as the Ethiopian Eunuch. He was the chancellor of the queen of Candace. Candace is not so much a proper name as a title, the title which all the queens of Ethiopia bore. This man had traveled over 200 miles, having been to Jerusalem to worship and was on his way home (vv. 27-28). He possibly came from the area of Africa we now call the Sudan, near present-day Khartoum.

When Philip, the evangelist, spotted the Ethiopian reading the Scripture he obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit (vv. 29-35). He boldly ran over to his chariot and asked if he understood what he was reading. God had already prepared his heart, as he was reading in Isaiah 53:7-8. When this educated, cultured, black man understood God’s plan of salvation he soon believed on Jesus Christ and was born again. Philip apparently also instructed him concerning baptism, for as soon as they saw water the Ethiopian requested baptism (vv. 36-40). Christian baptism was by immersion, and in running water. It symbolized three things:
  1. It symbolized cleansing - As a man’s body was cleansed by the water, so his soul was bathed in the grace of Christ.
  2. It marked a clean break - At the moment of baptism a line was drawn in their lives which sent them out to a new world.
  3. Baptism was a real union with Christ - As the waters closed over a man’s head it symbolized his death with Christ, and as he emerged he rose with Christ (Romans 6:1–4)

Application

This Ethiopian represents many people today who are religious, read the Scriptures, and even seek the truth, but still need to be evangelized. They need someone to show them the way. Lord, help me to be looking for people in this condition today, and help me to show them the way.

Acts 8:26-40 (English Standard Version)

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, "Go over and join this chariot." So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?" And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this: "Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth." And the eunuch said to Philip, "About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?" Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?" And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

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