Monday, July 18, 2022

An Appointment in the Desert

“On the next day we who were Paul’s companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him” (Acts 21:8 NKJV).

There’s only one person whom the Bible identifies as an evangelist, and his name is Philip. Chapter 8 of the book of Acts tells us that he was having great meetings where people were coming to Christ and miracles were taking place.

But then an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza” (Acts 8:26 NLT).

How easily Philip could have said, “No, thank you. I’ll stay right here.”

But Philip went to the desert. And there he saw a caravan coming his way. Not only that, but he could see they were important people. What Philip was seeing was a foreign dignitary, the treasurer of Ethiopia. He was returning from Jerusalem and happened to be reading from the scroll of Isaiah. 

Apparently, this dignitary had gone to Jerusalem searching for God, but he didn’t find what he was looking for.

Philip ran up to him and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” (verse 30 NLT).

“How can I, unless someone instructs me?” (verse 31 NLT). And then he invited Philip into his chariot. Philip joined him and explained what the text means. The man had been reading this passage from Isaiah 53: “He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth” (verse 7 NLT).

This is speaking of the death of Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

I love the way the story ends. The Ethiopian dignitary from Ethiopia “went on his way rejoicing” (verse 39 NLT).

In most cases, people aren’t going to say, “Show me the way to come to Jesus.” Instead, they are waiting for you to start the conversation. They are waiting for you to talk to them about God.

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