Summary: Although evangelism can be a group event, sharing the Gospel with one person at a time is as ancient as the early church.
The Road Less Traveled
The History of Judaism in Ethiopia is fascinating, but uncertain. Ethiopia is different from every other country in Africa. Ethiopian Jews, Beta Israel, aka Falasha Jews, lived in Ethiopia for centuries. Where did they come from?
Nearly 85% of the Ethiopian Beta Israel community, comprising more than 130,000 people, have emigrated to Israel under its Law of Return, which gives Jews and those with Jewish parents or grandparents, and all of their spouses, the right to settle in Israel and obtain citizenship.
The related Falasha Mura are the descendants of Beta Israel who converted to Christianity. The Israeli government has allowed some of these to return to Israel, but this is a constant matter of debate and a problem for them. But where did all these Ethiopian Jews come from?
The Ethiopian legend described in the "Book of the Glory of Kings," relates that Ethiopians are descendants of Israelite tribes who came to Ethiopia with Menelik I, alleged to be the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba …The legend relates that Menelik, as an adult, returned to his father in Jerusalem, and then resettled in Ethiopia, and that he took with him the Ark of the Covenant. [source: Wikipedia]
We do know that, in the first century, there were many, many Ethiopian Jews.
The Ethiopian Eunuch in our text today was probably not a gentile convert to Judaism, as you will typically hear; he was more than likely born a Jew. In ancient times, high palace officials were sometimes made eunuchs. It is thought that Daniel the prophet was also a eunuch.
Because of this, the Ethiopian Eunuch would not have been allowed in the courts of the temple, based on the restrictions in the Torah (Leviticus 22:4).
Philip had been preaching to crowds throughout Samaria, yet the Holy Spirit interrupted his ministry to call him to reach one solitary man, the Ethiopian Eunuch, in on the most remote spots in the entire region.
Main Idea: Although evangelism can be a group event, sharing the Gospel with one person at a time is as ancient as the early church.
I. God Can Lead Us to Go to Great LENGTHS to Reach Just One Person (8:26-40)
A. Philip is Led to an ETHIOPIAN Jew in a Remote Place (26-29)
2 roads from Jerusalem to Gaza; the desert road was the road "less traveled."
B. The Ethiopian is Puzzled While Reading Isaiah 53 ALOUD (30-34)
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied ; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.