Acts 8:36-40: Philip, a man available.
“36 As they travelled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptised?’ 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptised him. 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. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and travelled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea. ” NIV
I once heard John McInnes, a wonderful, cheerful Scottish missionary, speak about ‘Philip, a man available.’ Reading Acts 8, I think that is an excellent distillation of what we know of the man. There are obviously details of Philip’s life and ministry omitted.But a picture emerges in this chapter of a man who kept in step with the Holy Spirit. By the time we reach the thirty sixth verse, the conversation had obviously moved on and the treasurer was ready to commit. He desired to be baptised. We see in ‘Acts’ that baptism is the outward part of Christian initiation. It implies that there was repentance and faith in his heart. Water baptism alone will no more make you a Christian than going through a car wash will turn you into a car.
It is interesting to note that after he was suddenly bereft of Philip’s company ‘’…the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing’’ (39). We can become too attached to people. It’s understandable that we feel a deep connection with those who point us to Christ. But that’s the thing, Philip had focussed this man’s attention on Jesus; he had preached Christ and not himself. So when Philip was no longer around, the man’s joy was undiminished. He didn’t have Philip in his life, but he did have Jesus, He had found the treasure in the field and that was all that mattered. Philip, did his work well as a signpost. Many years ago, I read John Pollock’s biography of Billy Graham. It was a heart-stirring read. One story from it has always stayed with me. Billy Graham is almost certainly the best known preacher of his generation. He reached celebrity status in the eyes of many – not that he ever set out to achieve that. One day he went into a room full of people who were obviously delighted to have him with them. But, said Pollock, by the time he left the room, no-one seemed to noticed. He had got them talking about Jesus.
Are you available today for meetings the Holy Spirit may schedule; for appointments He sets up? Are you ready to go if He says ‘go’, to stay if He says ‘stay’? Are you prepared to speak the Name ‘Jesus’?
PRAYER: Holy Spirit, take me, move me, use me. I want to glorify Jesus.