From the Desk of Dawn Parr, Children’s Ministry Director
Philip, an apostle of the Early Church is not mentioned much in the New Testament. However, his role of encouraging another is a teachable moment for all.
Philip was adamant about preaching the Gospel.
He was the precursor of Apostle Paul in his missionary work. Philip had been in preaching in Samaria, and by the Spirit’s leading, he goes into the desert. When traveling the road from Jerusalem to Gaza, Philip met the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26).
Many claim this Ethiopian is the first of the African race to become a Christian.
This man was a treasurer of Ethiopia, a high official of the day—a man of property and prominence. He had a vague understanding of God. He had gone to Jerusalem to worship. But, because he was a eunuch (the custom for a man in his position of society), he was denied entering the main assembly of the Lord (the place of worship). He was only able to worship outside in one of the smaller areas where women and others gathered.
While traveling in his chariot leaving Jerusalem, the eunuch read from a scroll on which was recorded the words of the prophet Isaiah. (Isaiah 56:3 predicts a great blessing for eunuchs.) He could have been seeking out answers to his faith to travel more than 200 miles to Jerusalem to worship God, but his heart was still not satisfied.
Jesus had sent Philip to this desert region and what he found was someone diligently, sincerely, and earnestly reaching out for something more than he had ever known.
The Spirit of God used Philip to encourage the eunuch. Acts 8:30-31 states:
“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.”
What a marvelous place to begin to talk about Jesus!
When the Spirit of God leads, how wonderfully everything opens up! The Ethiopian, through Philip’s encouragement, was able to understand the gospel message.
The first result of Philip’s work was the conversion of the Ethiopian through baptism. The second result? That was joy—he “went on his way rejoicing,” Acts 8:39. Tradition says that the eunuch became a missionary to his own people, encouraging others, filled with the Joy of the Lord.
How can you encourage another in their faith journey this week? Take Philip’s example and let the Holy Spirit lead you in spreading the Gospel message!
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