35 Philip proceeded to tell him the good news about Jesus, beginning with that Scripture.
Have you ever asked the question, “How did this all start?”
Ethiopia, on the continent of Africa, lies on the other side of the Red Sea across from Jerusalem. Many sources say there are now well over 600 million followers of Christ in Africa and over 500 thousand churches. So how did this all start? The encounter with Philip and the Ethiopian man in Acts 8 may just be the answer to that question.
Acts 8 records the story of how Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples, shared the gospel with a man who is not named but who was a high official serving the queen of Ethiopia. The man had visited Jerusalem to worship, according to the passage, so it seems he had some interest in the things of God.
When Philip encountered the man, he was riding in a chariot and reading a passage from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah which predicted the suffering of the coming Messiah. Philip asked the man if he understood what he was reading, and the man invited him to come along and explain it.
Using that Old Testament passage as a starting point, Philip explained the gospel to him, and the man was saved. As they came upon some water, the man asked Philip to baptize him. At that point, the two men parted ways. It is very likely that the man went back to Ethiopia and began sharing the gospel with others. Some 2,000 years later, we see how God used that man to begin an amazing work on the continent of Africa.
Do you think Philip knew God would use his witness to the Ethiopian man as the catalyst for the gospel flooding the African continent? I doubt it. Philip just saw an opportunity to have a gospel conversation, and he asked a simple question, “Do you understand what you are reading?” God took it from there.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Could it be that God is about to start something new through you? Could it be that all you have to do is notice the people around you and ask simple questions?
- It is quite possible that God is ready to start something amazing through you—if you’ll only speak up.