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Summary: Philip is leaving a place where there has been a great movement of the Spirit of God, to go into a place, a desert, where there is nobody. However, when he gets there, he finds that God does have someone to whom he is to witness.

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February 16, 2014

By: Tom Lowe

Topic #III: The Church Scattered into Palestine and Syria (8:4-12:25) Subtopic A. The Ministry of Philip (8:4-40).

Lesson III.A.2: Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (8:26-39)

Introduction

The first mentioned of Philip is found in the account of the dispute between the Hebrew and Hellenistic disciples in Acts 6. He is one of the deacons appointed to administer the daily distribution of food and alms, and to remove all suspicion of partiality. The persecution of which Saul was the leader must have stopped the "daily ministrations" of the Church. The teachers who had been most prominent were compelled to take flight, and Philip was among them. Philip flees to the city of Samaria, where he preaches the gospel effectively. He is the precursor of St. Paul in his missionary work, as Stephen had been in his teaching. The scene which brings Philip and Simon the sorcerer into contact with each other (Acts 8:9-13), and the magician has to acknowledge a power over nature greater than his own, is interesting. This step is followed by another. On the road from Jerusalem to Gaza he meets the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26). The History that follows, which makes up this lesson, is interesting since it is one of the few records in the New Testament of the process of individual conversion. A brief sentence (Acts 8:40), tells us that Philip continued his work as a preacher at Azotus (Ashdod) and among the other cities that had formerly belonged to the Philistines, and, following the coast-line, came to Caesarea. Then for a long period—around eighteen or nineteen years—we lose sight of him. The last glimpse of him in the New Testament is in the account of St. Paul's journey to Jerusalem. It is to his house that St. Paul and his companions turn for shelter. He has four daughters, who possess the gift of prophetic utterance and who apparently give themselves to the work of teaching instead of entering on the life of a wife and mother (Acts 21:8, 9). One tradition places the scene of his death at Hierapolis in Phrygia. According to another, he died bishop of Tralles.

Scripture

26 But an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is a desert road.

27 And he rose and went. And behold, an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a minister of the Can'dace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of all her treasure, had come to Jerusalem to worship

28 and was returning; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.

29 And the Spirit said to Philip, "Go up and join this chariot."

30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?"

31 And he said, "How can I, unless some one guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32 Now the passage of the scripture which he was reading was this: "As a sheep led to the slaughter or a lamb before its shearer is dumb, so he opens not his mouth.

33 In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken up from the earth."


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