Gaza: Bold Moves & Daring Faith
Now 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 place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” — Acts 8:26-29
This story is fascinating. Given our short time exploring Gaza through the Bible, we finally find one redemptive text coming from the road to Gaza. Hundreds of years after the fulfillment of prophecies against Gaza, we have a man from the south who discovers salvation. Philip, the primary entrepreneur of the spread of the Gospel into the non-Jewish community, has some adventurous spiritual experiences. God leads Philip down a random, remote, and risky road toward Gaza. Here, he meets an unusual character. A wealthy, castrated, educated, Jewish convert on his way to worship in Jerusalem. He travels with an entourage by chariot and reads from a very expensive scroll — the Isaiah scroll.
So Philip "goes over" because he hears him reading the Old Testament Scripture, which "happens to be" a prophetic text about Jesus. Next, we read:
And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. — Acts 8:34-38
There are so many great little evangelistic tidbits in this story. But here is what captured me.
Led by the Spirit, Philip boldly acts in faith and speaks about his faith in Jesus. Philip's willingness and the Spirit's leading make a powerful combination. So much so that he refused comfort and thus became the first to take the message of Christ beyond Jerusalem. He even welcomed uncomfortable activities — being led by the Spirit, taking a dangerous walk to a foreign region, walking toward a vehicle, engaging a foreigner, speaking about Christ, inviting him to decide, and baptizing him.
This is the hope we want and need today — the hope of Jesus Christ working through a brave man who will speak and act on his behalf.
But most believing men never experience this. Most are spiritually quiet, passive, and unengaged. They keep their faith and beliefs to themselves, so they never experience the adventure of faith. They snub the Spirit that keeps nudging them. They live paralyzed by spiritual fear. And I know this is true. You know this is true. I have been that man, and so have you.
Today, let's do something different. Invite the Spirit to nudge you today. Then, take a daring step. Walk toward a person. Engage them. Speak about Jesus. Invite a decision if the opportunity presents itself. If you are not ready to do precisely what Philip did here, start with your spouse and kids. Then, get a little bolder each day. Embrace the Spirit's nudge in your work. Then, in public. Be bolder because regardless of what is happening in the world, our time needs braver and bolder men because Jesus has come, and salvation is here.
What specific fears or reservations hold you back from stepping out in faith to talk about Jesus with others? How can you address these fears and lean into the Spirit's nudge?
In what practical ways can you be more like Philip — open, brave, and responsive to the Spirit's leading—in your daily interactions with people around you, starting with your family and extending to your workplace or community?
DO THIS: Be nudged by the Spirit and act.
PRAY THIS: Lord, ignite in me the courage to heed the Spirit's leading today, to step out in faith, and engage others with the life-transforming message of Jesus Christ. Help me to be a man who is bold yet compassionate, taking Your gospel to places and people that need the hope only You can provide. Amen.
PLAY THIS: Salvation Is Here.
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