Over the last few days, we have been reading about the persecuted Church in the book of Acts. We read yesterday how the persecution in Jerusalem had caused the believers to scatter throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria. This must have seemed like a victory for Saul, who was persecuting Christians, but we see in our passage today that God uses persecution for His purposes.
Philip receives a message from an angel of the Lord to be exactly where he would meet the Ethiopian eunuch. Philip overhears him reading from Isaiah 53, and explains that Isaiah was prophesying about Jesus, the Suffering Servant who was “led like a sheep to the slaughter” (v.32). The Ethiopian eunuch believed in Jesus and was baptized that day.
So what do we take from this passage?
First, Philip used the Old Testament to point to Jesus. On this side of the cross, we can clearly see that Isaiah 53 is talking about Jesus. These verses come right before those referenced in Acts 8:
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:4-6
When the Ethiopian eunuch read these verses, however, he did not know who Isaiah was speaking of. Philip explained the prophecy to the eunuch, and he believed. Luckily for us, we know that the Old Testament ultimately points forward to Jesus.
Second, Philip was ready to share the Gospel with those around him. Philip was clearly a man who was daily guided by the Holy Spirit. He walked with God, and this led him to the opportunity to share the Gospel with someone. As we walk with God daily, I believe the Holy Spirit works in our life to make us sensitive to the opportunities around us to share our faith. When we are regularly in the Word and fervently praying to God, we should want to tell someone about Jesus and how he has saved us from our sins.
Take some time today to meditate on Isaiah 53, and thank God for sending Jesus to be the Suffering Servant on our behalf.
Also, as we daily discipline ourselves this year in Bible reading and prayer, ask God to reveal to you the opportunities in front of you to share the Gospel.
By: Lucas Taylor — West Campus Pastoral Ministry Apprentice