About the Journey 8 - from Kerry

About the Journey - Acts 8:26-40 - from Kerry Flemington

“As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.
The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.”
Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.
The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter.
   And as a lamb is silent before the shearers,
   he did not open his mouth.
He was humiliated and received no justice.
   Who can speak of his descendants?
   For his life was taken from the earth.”
The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.
As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?” He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Meanwhile, Philip found himself farther north at the town of Azotus. He preached the Good News there and in every town along the way until he came to Caesarea.
Acts 8:26-40

Go south down the desert road…
These words provide a strange balm for me in this crazy world that we live in.  Philip was very busy spreading the good news of Jesus throughout Samaria, the area he travelled to when Christ’s followers were scattered by Saul’s persecution.  Through his miracles and preaching, the church continued to grow.  And then this strange instruction comes to Philip: go south down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.
The instruction was very simple.  There was no indication of what he was to do while on that road.  There was no indication of what the destination was.  Simply put, the angel essentially said, “Start walking in this direction”.
For Philip, no further information was required.  All the information he needed, he had: God himself was calling him to go.  We tend not to follow the vague, possibly cryptic instructions of someone we don’t trust.  Even with someone we do trust, we tend to ask a lot of questions, mostly surrounding our own well-being, before we willingly follow their direction.  And our hesitancy reflects our thoughts on whether we think the person instructing us is safe and whether we think we will be safe.
This speaks volumes about who Philip understands God to be and his own well-being while in the care of God.  For him, God is utterly trustworthy because he is good and he loves infinitely.  The proof resides on the cross.  There was nothing to doubt, nothing to question about being told to walk.  What wasn’t obvious would become so, and what wasn’t provided wasn’t needed.  And as it turns out, that exercise in trust between Philip and God is what God uses to spread his story of salvation into the continent of Africa.  But Philip didn’t know that when he received the instructions.  Even afterwards, when suddenly he was transposed elsewhere, would he have known the full effects of his obedience.  He went, he did, he left.  He trusted God with everything else.
Go down a road. Follow closely a chariot. What we’re called to is really simple - this story reminds me of that.  In fact, every time I open the Bible, I’m reminded: what God desires more than anything, is for me to enter into the holy of holies and be with him.  He will do the rest.  Salvation wasn’t formulated as a recruitment strategy for God so that he would have an army of workers.  No, the sole desire of God is to be reconciled to his people.  It goes back to the garden, where we were meant to walk with him, uninhibited, unashamed, unabashedly - where he is fully known by us and we are fully known by him.  We are the apple of his eye.

you can connect directly with Kerry at kerry@arnuthill.com

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