Day 31

Philip & the Ethiopian Official

Acts 8:5-8, Acts 8:26-40, Isaiah 56:1-8, 1 Peter 2:9-10

BY Guest Writer

As one of the seven deacons chosen to care for the poor, Philip had a good reputation in the community and was full of wisdom and the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:3, 5). Philip followed the movement of the Holy Spirit with obedience and devotion to what God was doing through him. When the Spirit redirected his plans by leading him to a specific ministry opportunity, he followed with enthusiasm and was God’s vessel for showing the “immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7).

These two stories from today’s reading contrast God’s pursuit of many and of one, both in surprisingly bold yet gentle ways. Through Philip, God reaches down into the territory of Samaria, and purposefully chooses to make the lame, paralyzed, and demon-possessed a people for His own possession (Acts 8:5–8; 1Peter 2:9). But remember that at that time, “Jews [would] not associate with Samaritans” (John 4:9). This is the shocking grace and kindness of God’s upside-down kingdom on display.

Later, Philip came across an Ethiopian official, who was also a eunuch, heading home in his chariot after worshiping in Jerusalem. He sat with a copy of the book of Isaiah open, reading the prophet’s words aloud. God orchestrated a divine meeting and chose to use Philip as His hands and feet, delivering the gospel message to the Ethiopian man. His position in life meant he was not welcome to worship with Jews (Deuteronomy 23:1), yet he was still determined to know God (Acts 8:31). Philip, led by the Holy Spirit, “proceeded to tell him the good news about Jesus, beginning with [the] Scripture” he’d been reading (v.35), which said:

He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb is silent before its shearer,
so he does not open his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who will describe his generation?
For his life is taken from the earth (Acts 8:32–33).

After hearing Philip’s explanation of the passage and understanding that the good news of Jesus was for him, too, everything changed for this man, leading him to excitedly ask to be baptized at the first sight of water (Acts 8:36). Reconciliation through Jesus Christ meant that he would never again have to be separated from God (Isaiah 56:4–5). He was welcomed into the family of God. Like the Ethiopian official, these shocking promises of grace and kindness in God’s upside-down kingdom should bring us great joy and peace.

In both of these accounts, Philip was led by the Holy Spirit to faithfully testify to the power of God through Jesus Christ, which has come to claim all people for His glory. And while Philip is an example of a faithful servant of God fulfilling the Great Commission, ultimately, the story of Philip is not really about Philip at all; his story points to an otherworldly mercy that claims us as God’s own, calling us out of darkness and into His eternal light (1 Peter 2:9–10).

Brooke Kocher is a wife and mother of three. She is a Southern girl at heart and a recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest.

Post Comments (27)

27 thoughts on "Philip & the Ethiopian Official"

  1. AnnaFaith Adair says:

    no one is an outcast in the Kingdom! hallelujah!

  2. Nadine Hall says:

    I feel a bit like Philip. My husband and our family are following the Spirit’s leading to interview at a church several states away. We will leave in the morning, quietly confident we are following the Lord while totally unsure what the outcome will be. I would appreciate the community’s prayers as we continue seeking the Lord’s will and following the Spirit’s leading and direction for our family and future ministry life.

    1. Karen Ballinger says:


  3. Diana Fleenor says:

    Today I”m struggling with increased symptoms which include pressure in my head, all over body pain and energy drain. When this happens, the sense of isolation heightens and I can relate to the concept of being in “a desert place.” Also, the term “outcast” strikes a familiar chord. Being in the desert place for over 13 years can make one cry out to the Lord, “How long?” as David penned in both Psalm 6 & 13.

    Like David, I have tasted the goodness of the Lord and and like the Ethiopian, his great mercy of salvation through eyes opened to the good news of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Yet, today, I can very much relate to David’s words in Psalm 6: “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O Lord — how long?”

    How grateful I am to know that I can bring my troubles to the Lord with tears, groaning, and questions and I do so with a humble heart. I believe that he is sovereign over it all and all he does is good and just and right. May his steadfast love strengthen my own heart, as I pray for each of you in this as well.

  4. Lindsay C. says:

    I believe the Spirit still guides, directs, and appoints us for certain people, times, and/or places. The question I ask myself is, Am I close enough to hear? And if I hear, will I obey?

  5. Ashley White says:

    Amen ❤️

  6. Cynthia Ramain says:

    I absolutely love this story. It is a good reminder that even though we miss congregating in our houses of worship during these crazy times, all we truly need is the word of God and the gospel with the willingness to share it, even when it puts us out of our comfort zone. May we all continue to share his word with whomever and wherever we can! Praying for all my SRT sisters today and am thanking God for knowing His truth❤️

  7. Heidi Hoffman says:

    I echo your sentiments too! How did I miss this?

  8. Dorothy says:

    After reading the scripture, I realized that I either never read or really paid attention to the last few verses of the story of Philip and the Ethiopian Official. I am now aware of the official getting baptized and Philip being carried away by the Spirit of the Lord right in front of the Ethiopian official. I can’t imagine what that would be like to see someone take away by the Spirit of the Lord right in front of me. It would be awe inspiring.

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