To the Nations
Praise our Lord of the nations. Exalt him, who reigns over all things and holds all creation in his hands.
Read Acts 8:26-40
 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.”  The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?”  Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.  As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”   And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.  When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.  Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow was Phillip directed and how did he respond?
Yesterday’s and today’s readings are the beginning of the fulfillment of Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8 and an immediate authentication of Stephen’s speech, as God calls his people out of Jerusalem and accompanies them, evidenced by signs and wonders and the imparting of the Holy Spirit. As people disperse, they don’t go into hiding as might be understandable, but they preach the good news of Jesus wherever they go. This is the start of real cross-cultural mission. After preaching to crowds in Samaria, Philip is sent to evangelize an individual Ethiopian. This official, an educated man and clearly a Jewish African (he is reading the Scriptures and is traveling home from Jerusalem where he has been to worship at the Temple), knows he lacks understanding of the Scriptures. Philip is able to show him how the book of Isaiah speaks of Jesus and to lead him to saving faith and baptism into the kingdom of God. The Ethiopian man continues on his way rejoicing! Traveling in a direction away from Jerusalem’s Temple no longer matters now that Christ’s presence dwells with him.
Where and to whom will the Holy Spirit lead you today? Ask God for opportunities to share Jesus with someone.
Lord, may Your Spirit lead me to people I can share You with and may I be willing to go.
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