Philip and the Ethiopian Official
Open Your Bible
Acts 8:1-40, 2 Kings 2:11, Isaiah 56:3-5, Romans 10:11-14
Today’s reading draws us further into the world of the early Church, giving us more insight into the climate in which the gospel was preached. It also acquaints us more with those who contributed to the distribution of the gospel.
The same day Stephen is martyred, widespread persecution occurs, with Saul actively pursuing and persecuting believers, throwing them in jail (Acts 8:1–3). The persecution intensified, but the resolve of Jesus’s followers to share His message only grew.
Philip’s encounter with the eunuch was more than being in the right place at the right time. It was a divine orchestration from God, who was ready to meet the eunuch’s desire to know more about Him. Philip meets a perplexed man, who does not understand who the subject of the passage from Isaiah was talking about. But Philip did.
Philip proceeded to tell him the good news about Jesus, beginning with that Scripture. —Acts 8:35
Here we see God’s saving power in action. As Philip directed the eunuch to Jesus through the Word, the eunuch accepted everything that he heard. It’s a monumental moment in the eunuch’s life, the eagerness evident in his immediate request to be baptized. As regal and important as his position was in Queen Candace’s court, he now had a more prestigious status as a member of God’s family.
This roadside conversion points back to God’s promise in Isaiah 56:3–5, where God specifically promised that His salvation would extend to foreigners and eunuchs, who generally did not have families of their own. Better than a biological family, the eunuch now had a place among God’s people and family. What joy he experienced, as he returned to Ethiopia, forever changed.
The same joy-inducing, life-giving gospel at work in the eunuch’s conversion is the same gospel that has transformed our lives. The eunuch’s story highlights the beauty of God’s grace. Because of sin, we were far from God, but because of Jesus’s sacrifice, we now belong to Him. The gospel welcomes all, without discrimination; the only requirement is that we accept His gift of salvation (Romans 10:13). In God’s household, strangers are bonded together as family, and we all experience God’s blessings.
The eunuch’s conversion during the church’s persecution emphasizes that nothing will stop God’s plan for us to be His people. Our lives are forever marked with a deep joy that outlasts any situation we face, knowing that we are accepted by Him.