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Philip: ready to share when asked

July 7, 2023
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Daily Scripture

Acts 8:27-38

27 … Meanwhile, an Ethiopian man was on his way home from Jerusalem, where he had come to worship. He was a eunuch and an official responsible for the entire treasury of Candace. (Candace is the title given to the Ethiopian queen.) 28 He was reading the prophet Isaiah while sitting in his carriage. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Approach this carriage and stay with it.”
30 Running up to the carriage, Philip heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you really understand what you are reading?”
31 The man replied, “Without someone to guide me, how could I?” Then he invited Philip to climb up and sit with him. 32 This was the passage of scripture he was reading:
Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent
so he didn’t open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was taken away from him.
Who can tell the story of his descendants
because his life was taken from the earth? [Isaiah 53:7-8]
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, about whom does the prophet say this? Is he talking about himself or someone else?” 35 Starting with that passage, Philip proclaimed the good news about Jesus to him. 36 As they went down the road, they came to some water.
The eunuch said, “Look! Water! What would keep me from being baptized?” [The best manuscripts of Acts do not contain what is printed as verse 37 in some translations] 38 He ordered that the carriage halt. Both Philip and the eunuch went down to the water, where Philip baptized him.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Jerusalem was a long way from Ethiopia. Acts said this Ethiopian had come to Jerusalem to worship, but how did he get his hands on a scroll to read on his journey home? Maybe he’d heard some of the spreading stories in Jerusalem about Jesus. Something made him curious about the sacred readings in Isaiah. His curiosity produced initial confusion. He admitted he needed help to understand what he was reading. Philip’s immediate task was simple—help this curious man find the gospel message.

  • The Holy Spirit sent Philip on a mission to help guide the influential Ethiopian to understand the gospel from the prophetic words of Isaiah 53. Philip ran to the chariot eager to help the man. That example of eager obedience is inspiring. When the Holy Spirit whispers to you, how willing are you to listen? Are you eager to help others understand your faith?
  • Non-religious and nominally religious people need your help to make sense of what, for many, can be a very confusing message. When was the last time you helped someone make sense of the gospel message? Do you feel equipped to do so? If not, what could you do to feel more confident and capable?
Prayer

God, teach me how to listen closely for the Holy Spirit’s whispering guidance. Help me have the courage to eagerly obey. Stir within me, Lord, a desire to better equip myself to help curious people make sense of the gospel story. Amen.

GPS Insights

Lauren Batzli

Lauren Batzli

Lauren Batzli is a summer intern at Resurrection working in Connections & Care. She was born and raised in Prescott, Arizona and is a recent graduate of Grand Canyon University where she studied theology and biblical studies. She is excited to start seminary in St Louis in the fall. She loves the outdoors, reading, and spending time with her family.

In my small hometown in Arizona, I drove past the same church for eighteen years on my way to and from home. This old brick church had a message board out front which displayed information, and I always looked forward to what the board would say when the sign was changed on Monday morning. Sometimes it was witty puns, other times it was announcements, but one message in particular has stuck with me for eight years. The sign read: “Slow obedience is no obedience.” At the time I was thirteen, and the message applied mostly to cleaning my room and taking out the dishes when my mom asked me to. But as I have grown older, I find those words often coming to mind as I think about obeying God. When God asks us to do something, He wants immediate obedience.

The story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch shows what can happen when someone obeys God immediately. Philip needed to go to the road leading to Gaza and needed to “go over and join this chariot” exactly when the Holy Spirit asked in order to be available when and where the eunuch would pass by. Because Philip was quick to obey God, the eunuch came to know Jesus and was even baptized. Can you imagine if Philip had been slow to obey God’s voice? He might have missed the opportunity to share Christ altogether! Instead, though, Philip ran.

I can remember several times in my life when I was slow to obey the call of the Holy Spirit. Recently, I was at a street corner and a man was asking for money; I felt a tug on my heart but instead of immediately reaching for my wallet, I waited, tossing the idea over in my head a few times and trying to decide of I really should give him some cash. When I finally did grab a few dollars, I looked over and the man had already started walking down the row of cars and then the light turned green, and I had to drive away. Because I hesitated and questioned God, ultimately the opportunity was lost for me to be the hands and feet of Christ in that moment.

This passage teaches us something else as well. From Philip, we learn that it is vital to be prepared to share. Like many people we come across today, the eunuch was a seeker. We read in verses 30 and 31 that the man was reading a passage of Scripture from Isaiah but wasn’t able to understand the meaning. He wanted to know the truth, but he needed a guide. This is true of so many people today. There are many who want to know more about Jesus and have questions about the Bible, church, and God; as disciples of Christ, it is our responsibility to be prepared to help them. Imagine if Philip hadn’t been prepared: the man would likely have continued on his way, still confused and without the truth, and there would have been no joyous baptism. Instead, Philip had studied and knew what the Scriptures taught. Like Philip, we all need to become seekers of Christ and of truth so that we can offer the help someone might need in order to know Jesus.

As we continue on our journey to know, love, and serve God, I pray that each of us may become quick to hear and obey his voice, and that we seek to know God and his truth more day by day.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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