Going Global

Today’s reading from Acts 8 contains a couple of my favorite New Testament episodes, and both of them involve Philip, who is sort of a minor player who does big things in this chapter.

After Stephen’s death, the church scatters. Philip heads to Samaria, where he does miraculous signs, leading people to Christ. He creates such a buzz that Peter and John come down to check out what the fuss is about and attracts the attention of a sorcerer who tries to buy Jesus’ power. (Who says the Bible is boring?) Then, Philip follows the lead of the Lord to travel down a desert road, where he meets up with an Ethiopian eunuch who is reading from the Old Testament; he uses this passage to tell the eunuch about Christ, and then Philip baptizes him. Talk about a divine appointment…

In these two episodes, Philip practically singlehandedly takes the Gospel out of Judea, into Samaria, and on its way to the ends of the earth, following exactly Jesus’ words in Acts 1:8. Philip’s evangelism to the hated Samaritans and to a foreign official set the stage for what comes later on: Peter taking the good news to Gentiles, and Paul travelling to parts of Asia and Europe, sharing Christ and changing lives. In time, the Gospel has travelled literally to the ends of the earth, and we are both the beneficiaries of Philip’s work and the bearers of his legacy.

Philip fell in line with the revolution, and two different cultures were affected because he obeyed God’s calling on his life. Imagine what we can do if we obey Him…

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