And the Beat Goes On . . .
October 31, 2019
After testifying and preaching the word of the Lord in Samaria, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem. And they stopped in many Samaritan villages along the way to preach the Good News. As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” Acts 8:25-26
Quite a revival was happening. It was actually quite spectacular. The Christians were being persecuted and driven from their homes and cities. But Acts 8 tells us that the believers took this as a grand opportunity. They were serving the One they KNEW had died and then came to life again and was truly God. They were unashamed and unafraid. So they told the story of Jesus everywhere they went. Verses 6-7 tell us about Philip’s great success: “Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did. Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.”
A man named Simon was a famous sorcerer there whom people called “The Great One—The Power of God,” and people left him to believe in Jesus. Even Simon himself believed and was baptized. Samaria was being turned on its head! Can you imagine how thrilling this was for Philip? When the church leaders in Jerusalem heard about the great things happening, they sent Peter and John there. They arrived and took over. The “party” continued, but now they were in charge of the preaching and teaching. After pretty much the whole city was changed, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching and teaching and seeing great miracles in many villages along the way.
What about Philip? Well, God asked him to not only leave the spotlight but leave the party all together. He sent him to the desert. Are you kidding me? Not even just to a smaller town? To the desert? What good could he possibly do there? But Philip didn’t miss a beat. He humbly headed for the desert. To his amazement he found a man in the desert, a member of the Ethiopian court. He was reading a scroll. When Philip approached him, he found the man didn’t understand the prophecies he was reading. Philip explained Jesus to him, and he was saved—they even found a small pool to baptize him in!
Philip’s humble obedience and willingness to leave the spotlight enabled him to become the apostle credited for bringing Jesus to the continent of Africa. No big surprise when you understand we are simply stewarding our gifts for the kingdom of God.
- Pray—Father, help me seek Your kingdom, not the spotlight.