Philip and The Ethiopian
The angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Get up and go south on
the road that runs between Jerusalem and Gaza," and Philip obeyed.
Philip was not the only traveler on the road that day. A royal chariot was headed south toward Ethiopia.
The head of the queen's
treasury was returning home. He had been to Jerusalem to worship God. In his hands was a scroll of the Book of Isaiah. Only a man
of wealth and position could buy such a book.
"Go slowly," the Ethiopian called out to the driver of the chariot; "I want to read." Then he drew out his precious possession—the Bible
scroll. How he longed to know God better!
On and on he read, but the eager look on his face became a dark frown. What did these words mean?
When Philip saw the chariot, God's Spirit told him, "Go, catch up with the chariot."
As Philip ran beside the chariot, he could hear the Ethiopian reading from the Book of Isaiah. Philip asked, "Do you understand
what you are reading?"
It was a very disappointed Ethiopian who answered, "How can I understand when I have no one to teach me?" He invited Philip to
ride along and explain the meaning of the strange words:
"He was led as a sheep to the slaughter,
And as a lamb before his shearer is dumb,
So he opened not his mouth,
His story who can tell?
For his life is taken from the earth."
"Whom is the prophet writing about?" the Ethiopian asked. "Is he writing about himself or some other man?"
Philip used these verses to preach to him about Jesus. Jesus was made to suffer and to die. Just as a lamb is quiet before the
shearer, so Jesus said nothing to those who wronged him.
The Ethiopian had not heard the story of Jesus before. He listened eagerly. Not only that, but he believed that Jesus was the Christ.
How thankful he was that Philip had come along! At last he was learning the very thing he had longed to understand.
As they rode along, they came to a place where there was water. The Ethiopian said, "See, here is water. What keeps me from being
Philip answered, "If you believe with all your heart, you may be baptized."
"I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God," the man replied. He commanded the servant to stop the chariot.
The Ethiopian and Philip climbed out of the chariot and went down into the water. There Philip baptized him.
When they came out of the water, the Ethiopian saw Philip no more. All the way back to his homeland he rejoiced as a follower of Jesus. He was eager to tell the people of Ethiopia about Jesus.
Beginning at Azotus, Philip preached the gospel in all the towns until he came to Caesarea.