Road Trip Sermon Series Week #11 Devotional
August 6, 2018
See below for an audio version of the following devotional.
TEXT: Acts 8:26-40 – 26
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.”
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
Is there an easier setup in all of scripture?
Philip finds a man reading an Old Testament verse describing the events of Jesus’ sacrificial death. Then he gets asked, “Who is this written about?”
God must have winked.
This is batting practice to George Springer. It’s a lob from James Harden. The offensive line has laid down and nothing stands between the opposing quarterback and JJ Watt. This is a sure thing.
This fellow traveler is pleading for someone to share the Gospel with him. How could Philip mess this up?
Only by living down to every expectation of him.
See, the cultural expectation would be for Philip to ignore this request. This was a man from Ethiopia, far outside of Israel. On top of that, he was a eunuch and, therefore, extra avoidable.
Expectation says that this is a person outside of God’s grace, that he isn’t worth the time, that there are more important people to talk to. But Philip knows in Jesus, God exceeded every expectation imaginable. Philip knows what’s at stake. So he takes his opportunity and nails it.
Philip shares the good news of Jesus’ resurrection and the invitation to commit our lives to follow Jesus. This foreign traveler gets baptized and becomes the first non-Jewish convert to Christianity. This was the first step to the Gospel reaching outside of Israel and into the ends of the earth.
I can’t help but think: what would have happened if Philip hesitated? What would have happened if Philip didn’t trust that the Holy Spirit was at work? What would have happened if Philip lived down to the expectations around him? And what happens when we do?
God, you consistently overthrow every limiting expectation placed upon you. The barriers of sin, shame and fear are nothing to you. Please destroy these barriers in my life. Help me to live into the freedom you offer in the power of your Holy Spirit, so I can be a willing traveler on any road you send me down. Amen.
- How has God exceeded expectations in your life?
- What are expectations that can limit your willingness to act as Philip did?
- Where, and with whom, has God placed you to share the good news of Jesus?