Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. The place in the Scripture which he read was this: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.” So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Acts 8:26-36 (NKJV)
The man from Ethiopia was evidently a Jewish proselyte who had come to Jerusalem to worship. It is likely that he had become aware of the Chrisitian movement that was beginning to flourish there. It would seem that on his way home he had stopped to ponder and to explore the Scriptures after his experience in Jerusalem. God has been at work helping this man to seek after him and to move him toward saving faith in Christ. God brings Philip to the Ethiopian to guide him in his seeking and to ensure that he genuinely finds Jesus. Our passage tells us that the Ethiopian was reading from Isaiah, that Philip preached Jesus to him, and that he wants to be baptized. This means that his seeking is complete and that he has moved to saving faith in Christ.
We can be sure that in order for saving faith to have come about for the Ethiopian man, he has truly entered the "Door" of Salvation, which is Christ, and he has opened the "Door" of his inner being to Christ. Saving faith has placed "him in Christ" and "Christ in him" (see yesterday's Devotional). From our standpoint, however, it seems like a quick jump from Philip preaching Jesus to the Ethiopian man and his wanting to be baptized. As we continue in Acts 8 over the next few days, we will see Philip making sure about the fullness of the Ethiopian man's response to Christ. From this we will be helped to see more of the detail of how a person moves from hearing the truth about Christ to having saving faith in Christ and being on the path of living fully for him.
What a wonderful thing it is to see the work of God unfolding in someone's inner being. For those who have experienced this work and know that they are in Christ and that Christ is in them, there is a great sense of peace and well being that fills them up. For those who are seeking God, be assured that he is at work moving you along gently and assuredly toward saving faith in Christ. God's love and grace are amazing and irresistible. Be confident that this is a really, really good thing.
Lord, thank you for your patience and diligence in regard to the work you are doing in my life. Thank you for your provision in Christ that allows me to be in him and him to be in me. Saving faith is so amazing. Lord, I bless you, worship you, and thank you with all my mind, heart, and life. Amen!
Posted on Tue, September 1, 2015
by Alan Porter