In Acts 8, the church is being persecuted. Saul is putting Christians in prison. God’s people are scattering. Yet, God is still moving powerfully and using his people to spread the good news of Jesus to a new part of the world.
Philip is one of these individuals. He goes to Samaria where God does incredible things through him. He drives out evil spirits, heals people, and proclaims Jesus. And people were putting their faith in Jesus because of what God was doing through Philip.
The apostles heard about these amazing things God was doing. It says Peter and John come and pray for these people so they can receive the Holy Spirit. Now, we believe when a person chooses to follow Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to live within that person right then and there. You might be wondering, “So, why did Peter and John have to pray for these people to receive the Holy Spirit?” But don’t get too caught up in this. Luke isn’t trying to give us an order for believing in Jesus, getting baptized, and receiving the Holy Spirit here. In fact in other parts of the Acts Luke flips this order like in Acts 10. But I like what Justo Gonzalez in his book “Acts: The Gospel of the Spirit” points out: the second part of Jesus’ prophecy that he made in Acts 1 where he said, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” is now coming to fulfillment. That’s what we see unfolding here. God is moving powerfully and transforming lives including the life of this Ethiopian eunuch.
At the end of ch. 8, an angel tells Philip, “Go down to this road.” So Philip goes. He then hears the Holy Spirit tells him, “Go over to that chariot.” So, he runs over to this chariot. There he hears this Ethiopian Eunuch, this high official in his chariot reading the prophet Isaiah. The official invites him into his chariot. The passage in Isaiah he’s reading just so happens to be a prophetic passage about the coming Messiah… Jesus. Philip explains the passage to him, tells him about the good news of Jesus, and baptizes him.
I love how dynamic this story is. There’s this spontaneity to it which I think reflects who God is. Philip is invited into this adventure with God that ultimately leads to a person coming to faith. How might this dynamic and powerful God be moving in your life today? What adventure is he inviting you to go on with him?