Philip, ‘Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means ‘queen of the Ethiopians’). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’ (Acts 8:26-29)
Following Christ’s resurrection and the mighty work of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2), the Biblical book of Acts offers this amazing insight into the unfolding life of the early church. We see a church which following in the example of Christ is propelled into mission.
Particularly they seem driven to share Jesus with all peoples. In June we will be starting a new sermon series at Martyrs looking at the book of Acts. In this new series we’ll hold a particular focus on how the Gospel reaches out to all peoples.
One thing that is particularly interesting about this is the way in which the disciples are guided in unexpected ways. Take for example the above account of Philip meeting the Ethiopian eunuch. Philip hasn’t put together a grand plan, he’s just going about his business one day, perhaps in a time of prayer or perhaps not, when he sensed the Lord saying to him to go down a particular road. There’s no suggestion that he knows why this is. And so ’on his way’ (he’s not even reached the destination) Philip encounters this person and notices that God is doing something in his life, he’s reading the Scriptures and the Spirit directs Philip to encounter the man. This is not what Philip had planned for, he was just following God one step at a time.
Often in my life I have a tendency, a desire, not only to plan out the journey but also to know the destination. Whilst this can be good, I am amazed how often it’s not the destination that seems to really matter but what happens along the way, how God works with us, in our going.
This can be scary as how do we know where we’re going if we don’t know the destination, do we even want to go there? However, I wonder if the Christian journey is more about accepting that we don’t always know the destination, but we can trust in Someone who does.