Day 31

Philip & the Ethiopian Official

from the reading plan

Acts 8:5-8, Acts 8:26-40, Isaiah 56:1-8, 1 Peter 2:9-10

My best friend’s mom (let’s call her “Debbie”) gave me my first Bible on my sixteenth birthday. At the time, I was pretty skeptical about this Jesus character, and I was seeking answers to life’s questions anywhere and everywhere—except the Bible. I was pretty confused by her present, and to tell the truth, I would’ve preferred a gift certificate to a local music store where, yes, physical copies of CDs and cassettes are sold. (Remember those?) But I’m not a monster, so I thanked her for the gift and promised to look through it with an open mind. Over the next several years, she would answer my many questions about the Bible, describing for me the power and beauty of Jesus Christ.

Debbie welcomed me into her home day after day as one of her own, and almost twenty-five years later, she still refers to herself as my “other mother.” Even then, she loved me in spite of my flaws and many mistakes, meeting me right where I was, and from there, walking beside me through some really difficult times. Because of her indefatigable love and compassion, I trusted her, and it’s because of my trust in Debbie that I was willing to crack open that Bible and see what I could find. Indeed, I found everything.

When a person of mighty faith encounters someone whose heart is open to the possibility of God’s presence, amazing things happen. All it takes is patience, trust, love—and listening to the call of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:29). Like Philip in today’s passage, Debbie was obedient to God’s calling, she trusted Him to open my eyes to His Word, and she loved me despite the obstacles of my skepticism and confusion about God. Like the Ethiopian official, I was willing to ask for help. In other words, she showed up, and because of the trust she engendered in me, I let her in.

In today’s passage we learn that “Philip proceeded to tell [the Ethiopian official] the good news about Jesus, beginning with [the] Scripture” he’d been reading when Philip met him (Acts 8:35, 32–33). We should note that Philip didn’t launch into some pre-packaged speech, but instead began their conversation with the very Scripture that was giving the Ethiopian official some trouble, meeting him right where he was on his own faith journey. Philip put aside any agenda he may have had and let the Holy Spirit guide him through what I imagine was a beautiful exposition of God’s love illustrated by the good news about Jesus. The Ethiopian official certainly seems to have responded favorably to Philip’s patient explanation given that he asked Philip to baptize him right there on the spot, at the first sight of water (Acts 8:36). What a powerful and intimate moment, that God’s love would be on grand display as one man welcomed another out of the darkness and into the marvelous light of God’s family and eternal kingdom (1 Peter 2:9–10).

Written by Alex Florez

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