Dave spoke tonight from Acts 8:26-39, the passage dealing with Philip’s evangelism of an Ethiopian eunuch, one of the first non-Jewish people to accept Christ as Saviour. Philip was involved in evangelism in Samaria following the martyrdom of Stephen, but an angel appeared to him to direct him to a deserted path where he was to meet with the equivalent of the Chancellor of the Exchequer from Ethiopia!
We know very little about this black African who was reading from Isaiah in what was not his native language. Presumably he was a God-fearer, but the fact he was a eunuch meant he could not be admitted into the temple. Perhaps he longed for acceptance and affirmation and this journey home may have seen him feeling rejected and no wiser than when he arrived. It is significant that the passage he was reading (Isaiah 53) spoke of suffering, rejection, humiliation and abandonment. God is able to draw alongside us, no matter what we are going through.
This passage teaches us many things. In Philip, we see a willingness to obey God, no matter how bizarre the angel’s instructions must have seemed. That obedience led to the salvation of one man, reminding us that God went to great lengths to speak to the Ethiopian. Each individual matters to God. He gives us total, unconditional acceptance and love, reaching out to us. God took the initiative in this encounter, demonstrating the depth of His love and concern. When we know ourselves to be totally accepted and totally loved, we can continue our journey as the Ethiopian did: rejoicing in God!