Excitement draws excitement and crowds draw crowds … and in a similar way when people respond to the gospel, those preaching the Gospel become more enthused and continue their evangelism with greater passion and zeal. Acts 8:25 is a transitional verse from one account to another, but an important verse
Ac 8:25 When they had testified and proclaimed the word of the Lord, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.
Peter and John ministered in that town in Samaria and as they returned to Jerusalem, they evangelized in many other Samaritan towns (villages). The wonderful message here is an example that the Gospel is never silent. When a pastor is on leave or away from home, as well as ordinary Christians … you are never away from the Gospel. Wherever you are you make Jesus known! You might be on holiday but if there are Gospel opportunities you need to make use of them. Just think, that opportunity is a Divine Appointment. That person or people you meet might only have you as their chance to hear the Gospel. Fail here, they might die and never hear the gospel again. I remember a man who came to Church regularly every Sunday morning. He was struggling with addiction to alcohol. My preaching rule has always been that irrespective of the text, I would challenge the unbeliever and backslider with the Gospel in my application. That Sunday morning he was in Church. That Sunday night he walked to a convenience store to purchase something. He crossed the road at an intersection where the traffic lights where in his favor. Two motorbikes were racing, which was common on that main road on a Sunday night. He crossed where the lights gave him the right of way and one of the motorbike’s drove right into him at high speed killing him and the biker. It was eternity for them both. I honestly cannot say whether he was a true believer or not … but he heard the Gospel that morning and could not plead innocence before the Judge of all the earth. Beloved, we need to be in constant prayer for Divine Appointments! As with you and me before conversion, people need the Lord. Souls must be saved … because eternity is forever and hell is eternal punishment! Now we transition to another Gospel account. Here we have the same evangelist, Philip. This time we find the Spirit of the Lord placing him in the presence of an Ethiopian man we commonly call “the Ethiopian Eunuch”. The section is chapter 8:26-40. Today we will read
Ac 8:26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
(1) Ethiopia. This was a country in Africa known as the Kingdom of Kush, often going by the name of Nubia and sometimes called Ethiopia.
(2) Ethiopian Eunuch. This man seems to have been a god-fearing man who aligned himself with the God of the Hebrew people but had not become a convert (proselyte). Because of his status as a eunuch, he would not have been allowed into the temple’s inner courts.
(3) What makes a man a Eunuch? There are three possibilities for him being a eunuch.
(i) Eunuch could have been a title for the position he held as one being in charge of the finances of the country.
(ii) He might well have been born a eunuch.
(iii) He might have been a slave and been emasculated.
Where the texts says “Ethiopian eunuch” it does not explain which category into which he fell. What we do know is the special place he as a eunuch holds in God’s economy!
Isa 56:3 Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely exclude me from his people.” And let not any eunuch complain, “I am only a dry tree.” 4 For this is what the LORD says: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant—5 to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.”
Here God promises a god-fearing Eunuch pleasure surpassing that of being married and enjoying the pleasures of marriage and the fruits (offspring) of marriage. Isaiah 56:5 rings loudly of the promises of Heaven in the Book of Revelation. For this eunuch this promise is real and true.
(4) Finance Minister. This man was … an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace. It seems as though he was equivalent to the Finance Minister of a country. The terms “important official” and “all the treasury” indicate this.
(5) Candace, Queen of Ethiopia. It seems as though this title was a hereditary one for the queen-mother of Meroe, the capital of ancient Nubia, often called Ethiopia. Nubia was the ancient Kingdom of Kush. It is possible that this queen Candace’s son’s reign had ended, perhaps by death or incapacity and she became the ruler of the country. History does not seem show any “queen ruler” who was “coronated” in the Kingdom of Kush at the time.
(6) The Ethiopian Eunuch had been in Jerusalem to worship and was on his way back to his native country … This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home.
1) Philip’s next assignment … a Divine Appointment with the Ethiopian Eunuch.
Ac 8:26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.”
(a) An angel of the Lord brought an instruction to Philip to go to a particular place so that he could meet up with the Ethiopian Eunuch (see verses 30 following).
(b) The venue was the “desert road” … the one that runs from “Jerusalem to Gaza”. This road was eighty kilometers long leading to the main coastal trade route to Egypt.
(c) Going in a southerly direction implies Philip going to the closest point to where he was to the “desert road”. The instructions delivered by the angel of the Lord, from the Lord were accurate because our Lord sees and knows everything all the time. He knew the movements of the eunuch and He knew the time for this eunuch’s salvation call was at hand.
We shall proceed with the story tomorrow. For today we find Peter, John and Philip willing and eager to do the Lord’s bidding … which in this case was evangelism. We ought never to be afraid to share Jesus with anyone. Who knows, when we do, it might be a “Divine Appointment” to start the ball rolling in the life of one or more people to hear, understand and respond positively to the Gospel Call. Don’t refuse and don’t delay for death is knocking at the door of all!
Give us, Lord, a picture of the reality of heaven and hell so that we respond with Gospel passion. Amen.