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.
— Acts 8:26-27 NLT
God told the Old Testament prophet, Jonah, to go to Nineveh and call the people to repentance. Instead, Jonah ran away and boarded a ship headed the opposite direction (Jonah 1:1-4). He refused the call of God because he was uncomfortable with the place where he was called to go, he despised the people, and he hated the possibility they might repent and then God would forgive them (Jonah 3:6-10, 4:1-4, 11). When the Lord sent Philip to go to a desert road headed in the direction of non-Jewish people, Philip did the opposite of Jonah. He obeyed God's call. Notice the progression in Luke record about Philip's obedience:
- He left and met the Ethiopian on the road (Acts 8:27).
- Philip ran to the chariot of the Ethiopian (Acts 8:30).
- He asked about the Ethiopian's understanding of the scriptures he was reading (Acts 8:30).
- Philip accepted the invitation to sit with the Ethiopian in the carriage (Acts 8:31).
- Philip began with the passage the Ethiopian was reading and shared the Good News about Jesus with him (Acts 8:35).
- At the request of the Ethiopian, Philip baptized him into Christ (Acts 8:36-38).
Philip opened his heart to God's call and that led him to open his heart to a foreign Ethiopian official with whom he gladly shared Jesus. Philip's ministry focused on sharing Jesus with all kinds of people. Unfortunately, many who claim Jesus surely seem to sound more like Jonah. However, I believe that deep down in our hearts, most of us want to be like Philip, with a heart for all those who need Jesus and his grace!
O LORD, here I am; please send, use, direct, and empower me. I want to obey you and bless people who need to know Jesus. I make this commitment knowing your presence will go with me and that you will equip and inspire me to do what I need to do. In Jesus' name, I thank you. Amen.