Acts 8:26-33 NIV reads:
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.”
Acts 8:34-35 in The Message says:
The eunuch said, “Tell me, who is the prophet talking about: himself or some other?” Philip grabbed his chance. Using this passage as his text, he preached Jesus to him.
We’ve all read travelogues before. Great sights. Amazing places. Diverse people. This is a story of the road as well. A story of the first African convert! It’s a great story of the road.
The first thing that I find striking (with the help of John Bevere, whom I’m reading right now), is that Phillip was so in-tune with God that he knew the difference between an angel who spoke to him in verse 26, and the Holy Spirit who spoke to him in verse 29. It’s clearly two different people talking to Phillip. All the translations make that clear. Oh, that I might have that kind of sensitivity: to first hear the Spirit’s voice, and secondly, to differentiate between the Holy Spirit’s voice and the voice of an angel!
Secondly, Phillip’s obedience is stunning. He leaves Samaria where he had preached a revival and where things are going like gangbusters, and obeys the call of God to go to the desert, where absolutely nothing is happening! He obeyed the angel to go to the desert and obeyed the Spirit who said to go up to the eunuch’s chariot. It took courage and it took obedience.
Lastly, Phillip was emboldened and empowered by the Holy Spirit, once obedient, to listen to the eunuch, whose heart the Spirit had opened, and then respond to the eunuch’s simple question.
And a continent had its first convert!
As Paul and I travel on our motorcycles for the next 18 days, I pray that we are as sensitive to the voice of God as we travel on our “chariots” and encounter those in need of hearing the Good News. I pray that we are obedient, heeding the leading of the Spirit, and empowered and emboldened, bringing glory to His Name.
The road awaits.