The Story of Philip and the Ethiopian in Acts 8:26-40

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In the Bible, there are stories that drive the power of God in lives, and the story of Philip and the Ethiopian is a narrative that comes to teach all believers that they must be attentive to the voice of God, and obey when He gives an order to bless a person.

This is the story that narrates how Philip did not refuse to move to a place that was in the desert, to fulfill what God had entrusted to him, it is a reflection that speaks to the hearts of all those who wish to bring the gospel.

The Story of Philip and the Ethiopian

The story of Philip and the Ethiopian is found in the book of Acts that begins with a call made by God to Philip.

This man in a firm and hasty way, showing obedience, got up and accepted the mission entrusted by God.

At that time the Gospel message was being carried with great acceptance in Samaria, and it was spreading rapidly.

But, the Lord decided to send Philip on another type of mission in a desert place, to which he accepted.

“An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying: Get up and go south, to the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is a desert way” (Acts 8:26). 

a lonely road

It is important to mention that the road that Philip had to travel was desolate, it was a route that was almost impossible to get people on road, it was a shortcut from the main road.

However, Philip made no excuse but he obediently went to that place that God had mentioned to him.

“He got up and went; And behold, there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a high officer of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all his treasures, and had come to Jerusalem to worship” (Acts 8:27).

On that road that was near the desert, and that was desolate, Philip had a very particular encounter.

Obey the voice of God

On the way, he met a caravan carrying an Ethiopian, who was in charge of all the treasures of the queen of Ethiopia.

That is why, at this point, obedience to the voice of God reveals his divine plan.

This is because, in a place where there was no possibility of meeting someone Philip, this man of great value to the kingdom of Ethiopia is found.

Philip meets the Ethiopian

Philip meets the Ethiopian

It is important to note that Philip’s obedience to God‘s call directed him to a person who did not know him.

But God in his divine plan made them meet, to fulfill the assignment of taking the gospel to everyone.

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“He got up and went; And behold, there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a high officer of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all his treasures, and had come to Jerusalem to worship.

He returned sitting in his chariot, and read from the prophet Isaiah” (Acts 8:27-28).

Given this, there is something interesting that happens with this Ethiopian diplomat, which is that he was reading the scrolls of the book of Isaiah, and went to the temple to bring the corresponding offering.

That says that he was not just any official but that he had a certain fear of God.

“And the Spirit said to Philip: Go and join that chariot. When Philip ran up to him, he heard him read the prophet Isaiah, and he said to him: Do you understand what you read? And he answered: How can I, unless someone guides me? And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him” (Acts 8:29-30).


The Ethiopians did not understand the Word

It is important to know what happens in this passage because the Ethiopian did not understand what he was reading.

However, this man wanted to understand the letters of these scrolls, so Philip set out to explain to him.

The said text referred to chapter 53 of the book of Isaiah, where the future Messiah was spoken of.

“The passage of Scripture that I was reading was this: Like a sheep, he was led to the slaughter; and like a lamb, dumb before him who shears him, he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation no justice was done; Who will count his generation? For his life is taken from the earth (Acts 8: 32-33)

Precisely, it does not turn out to be a coincidence that the Ethiopian was reading that writing.

God directing Philip was able to give him the revelation of who the promised Messiah was for the people of Israel.
And that writing said the following:

(Isaiah 53:1-12)
“Who has believed our message? To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

It grew before Him like a tender shoot, like a root out of the dry ground; she has no beauty or majesty for us to look at, nor appearance for us to wish him. He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and experienced in affliction; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we did not esteem him. Surely He bore our sicknesses, and carried our pains; nevertheless, we considered him scourged, wounded by God, and afflicted.

But He was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities.

Punishment, for our peace, fell on Him, and by His wounds, we have been healed. We all go astray like sheep, each of us separates on his own way; but the Lord caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

He was oppressed and afflicted, but he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that remains silent before its shearers, He did not open His mouth.

By oppression and judgment it was removed; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off from the land of the living?

for the transgression of my people, to whom did the wound correspond? He arranged his burial with the wicked, but with the rich, he was in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was there guile in his mouth. But the Lord wanted to break him, subjecting him to suffering.

When he gives himself as a sin offering, he will see his descendants, he will prolong his days, and the will of the Lord in his hand will prosper. Because of the anguish of his soul, He will see it and be satisfied.

By his knowledge, the Righteous One, my Servant, will justify many, and bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a share with the great, and with the strong he will divide the spoil, for he poured out his soul unto death and was numbered with the transgressors, bearing the sin of many, and interceding for the transgressors.”

God’s Plan
In the book of Isaiah, Jesus is being talked about, and in God’s perfect plan, nothing more and nothing less than Philip is sent to instruct this man, who wanted to know that text.

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That is why Philip takes advantage and teaches him who Jesus is.

“The eunuch answered Philip and said: Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself, or someone else?

Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this scripture, he preached the gospel of Jesus” (Acts 8:34-35).

This event speaks of God’s perfect plan in people’s lives because if Philip did not obey the instruction given by God, this man would not have known Jesus and his salvation.

The Ethiopian believes and is baptized

The Ethiopian believes and is baptized

This story culminates in showing Philip the gospel to the Ethiopian, and in this way to be able to give him the good news to which all the followers of Jesus were called.

In this case, something interesting happens, since this man was able to understand that Jesus was the Messiah, and asked to be baptized.

And thus be able to fully fulfill the ordinance given by Jesus before his ascension.

“Going along the road, they came to a place where there was water; and the eunuch said: Look, water.

What prevents me from being baptized? And Philip said: If you believe with all your heart, you can. He answered and said:

I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he ordered the carriage to stop; they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:36)

Spiritual Symbology

Something extraordinary happens and in the symbolism of this biblical quote it speaks, when seeing the external context, since in a deserted place they find a place where water flows.

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That is why Philip stops the carriage, in order to fulfill that mandate given by Jesus for baptism.

It can be said that it is almost a miracle that water appeared in the middle of that deserted place.

However, from the moment this man with faith receives Jesus into his life, that water begins to sprout in the middle of the desert.

Becoming a symbol of the salvation that Jesus was offering to all those who declared him as their Savior.


Seal of the power of God

As a final point, the supernatural aspect of God is manifested as a tangible seal of his power.

This is because after Philip was baptized he was snatched from that place, and it is implied that the one who bears the word must go on, looking for those souls who need God.

“As they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing with him” (Acts 8:39)

In this sense, the power of God manifested through this story should not be surprising.

Where it is revealed how the Gospel should be carried, and to be able to instill the divine word to greater places.

“But Philip found himself at Azotus, and wherever he went he preached the gospel in all the cities, until he came to Caesarea” (Acts 8:40).

After seeing this story, he allows himself to know how Philip becomes that evangelist or believer, and the Ethiopian is that soul that needs God.

While the context that is lived is the redemptive work to which God has called all his believers, in carrying his word and being able to instruct them, teach them and take them to baptism for the salvation of their souls.