And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.(Acts 8:25-29)
Philip , a deacon of the early church, scattered by the persecution instigated by Saul, had been conducting a successful ministry among the Samaritans.
There had been many conversions to Christ, accompanied by demon deliverance, healings and other signs and wonders. The city had been impacted, there was the Joy of new-found faith, and even certain notable people of the city had come to faith in Jesus.
But Philip heard from an Angel. We aren’t told how , but he did receive directions for further ministry. The Acts of the apostles assumes that we live in a Supernatural world, Angels come and go, God speaks, demons cry out of the possessed, and the saints know this and respond accordingly.
Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
Philip obeyed without question. He left the vibrant, growing, exciting new ministry to the Samaritans to go stand out in the middle of the desert ,waiting by a rarely traveled road, for the next instruction.
When a Chariot appeared bearing a powerful African dignitary, Philip received the next Word from the Lord, “Go near , join yourself to that Chariot”. He literally jogged alongside the Chariot, keeping pace so that he could witness to the man being driven.
We should see that the Acts of the Apostles are written so that we can have a pattern, as Christians. The narrative doesn’t really end, the Acts cuts off abruptly. We don’t know what became of Paul and Peter, the last we heard Paul rented an apartment in Rome, and used it to witness to people.
This is because we are actually living the last chapter. The Angel’s command is to all believers, not just Philip, “Go near, Join yourself to that Chariot! “
We too are commanded to stand alongside the byways and highways of Life, wherever our Lord has placed us, and to listen closely for the command to intrude ourselves politely into the lives of the different wayfarers the Lord has sent our way.
Philip was led by the Spirit to intrude, to interrupt the man in his reading, and to ask him if he understood! Therefore be bold, confident and compassionate, but in Jesus name, be sensitive to the voice of the Spirit, for the Lord would use us as He did Philip, all He wants is simple, trusting obedience.
The picture of the Christian witness, jogging alongside of the chariot of the powerful African dignitary, perhaps breathlessly but politely inquiring as to the reading matter,( and think about it,) the level of understanding, ought to motivate us to do likewise. God put this beautiful story in here so we can live it also!