The Holy Spirit’s Ministry to Individuals

It is clear that Philip had a very successful ministry in that particular town in Samaria. We can, therefore, expect the Holy Spirit wanting him to stay on, so that even more people can become believers. However, that is not what happened, as we can read in Acts 8:28-29

Now and angel of the Lord said to 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 Candace, 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."

Philip, in obedience to the word of the angel, did leave the place he was ministering, not knowing what he was to do. As he walked on the road he had been directed to, the Holy Spirit spoke to him to go to the chariot, which was on that road, and Philip did so. He did not question the Holy Spirit why he had to leave his successful place of ministry where he had ministered to the many, to now minister to just one person. Philip simply obeyed. When he got close to the chariot he heard a man reading from the book of Isaiah as we know from Acts 8:32-33

The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: He was led like a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.

This passage can be found in Isaiah 53:7-8

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth.By oppression and judgement he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living…..

It is clear that this man did not understand what he was reading, so Philip explained the passage to him and shared with him the gospel. The man believed and asked to be baptised, as we can read in Acts 8:36-38

As they travelled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptised?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptised him.

However, after the man was baptised, Philip did not stay with him to disciple him further in the truths of God’s word. Instead he was taken away by the Holy Spirit as we can read in Acts 8:39

When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.

Philip’s task was done and the Holy Spirit had other work for him to do as we can read in Acts 8:40

Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and travelled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

Going back to the man Philip shared the gospel with at the road, Philip did not know who this man was, for the Holy Spirit had not revealed to Philip who it was He was leading him to speak to. It is possible that Philip never knew who this man was, nor the important function this man had at the court of the queen of Ethiopia. Philip just obeyed the leading of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit knew how important it was for this man to hear the gospel, for he would be the key to bringing the gospel to his nation. So he made sure Philip left the city in Samaria at the right time, and that he was at the right road to meet this chariot with this person in it, just at the time this man was reading a certain portion of the book of Isaiah. Talk about perfect timing….. Coincidence? I don’t think so. It was more likely a God-incident.

Part IX