Acts 8:29-35: Start where they are:

“29 The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’ 30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked. 31 ‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?’ So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:                                                                                                                                                                                        ‘He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,                                                                                                                                               and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,                                                                                                                                                 so he did not open his mouth.                                                                                                                                                                        33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.                                                                                                                                 Who can speak of his descendants?                                                                                                                                                             For his life was taken from the earth.’                                                                                                                                                         34 The eunuch asked Philip, ‘Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?’ 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.”NIV UK

I want to make three observations from this reading:

  1. When God shows you the next step, ‘run’ after the thing He has shown you (30). There is an urgency about doing God’s will. ‘How certain these Spirit-filled men were of the heavenly impulse! Every appearance suggested that this man was needed in the city, but the inner voice was the deciding factor, and his journey was so timed as to bring him in contact with a soul that was groping its way toward Christ…Live in touch with God, and he will put you in touch with souls.’ F.B. Meyer: ‘Devotional Commentary’, p.488;

  2. Start where people are. As Philip got close to the chariot, he heard the Ethiopian reading out loud from the book of Isaiah (30). That’s where Philip started – right where this gentleman was. His simple question opened the doorway to a deeper conversation, and before too long this man had become a Christian (see Isaiah 56:3-8). ‘How manifestly the meeting of these two, starting so far apart, and so ignorant of each other and of the purpose of their being thrown together, reveals the unseen hand that moved each on his own line, and brought about the intersection of the two at that exact spot and hour! How came it that at that moment the Ethiopian was reading, of all places in his roll, the very words which make the kernel of the gospel of the evangelical prophet? Surely such ‘coincidences’ are a hard nut to crack for deniers of a Providence that shapes our ends!’ Alexander Maclaren.

  3. Keep the focus on Jesus (35). I heard a preacher say that if you talk about the church you are ‘leading with your jaw’. If at all possible, keep away from questions of where Cain got his wife etc, and if you do get led up some side path, quickly bring the traveller back to the main road. Jesus is the central issue – Jesus and His cross. What do you think about Jesus? At all costs, get your conversation partner to consider Jesus, if you possibly can. It is rare, I think, for an a person to seriously look at Jesus, with an open heart, and not be converted.

To conclude today, here is a further lovely thought from F.B.Meyer:  ‘The Bible is a good travelling companion. Take it on your journeys. Read it as other men do their newspapers; not exclusively, but boldly.’

PRAYER: Lord, please make your way plain to me, and may I run to embrace your good will.