torsdag 23. juni 2016

Why was it so important to send Philip out in the desert?

I can think of more than one reason why God’s angel appointed Philip to leave the revival in Samaria and go to the desert of Gaza to meet only ‘ONE’ person. I am convinced that all the new passionate converts in Samaria could manage on their own for a while; therefore, the simplest explanation may be that God wanted to focus on the great value of every individual. Jesus’ own words come to mind:
“…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”
Luke 15:7
This explanation is satisfactory and we could conclude and rest in the true fact that every individual is important to God. But, I am convinced that the man in the desert was not a random target, he was not just an 'anyone' out of a hundred. I believe that Luke, the author of Acts, saw that the conversion of the Ethiopian was a great testimony to God’s boundless salvation of ALL men in Jesus Christ! When the Ethiopian eunuch received Christ as his Lord and Saviour, a very important prophecy reached its fulfillment.

The man was important because he was a eunuch. One of the biggest challenges the first community of believers faced, was how to understand and proclaim the boundless salvation in Jesus Christ. First it was hard for them to grasp that the word of salvation included gentiles, but even harder that it included people who were literally excluded. When Isaiah brought his prophecy:

"for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations."
Isa 56:7b
I believe that he saw the universal effects of the sacrifice of the ”suffering servant”, whom he had prophesied about earlier, and which also was the passage the eunuch was reading when Philip met him (1). Just prior to the prophecy about 'the house of prayer for all nations', there is a promise that the foreigners will be included, but very interesting for this reflection is the special reference to the eunuch:
"to them (the eunuchs) I will give within my temple and its walls
a memorial and a name
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
that will endure for ever."

Isa 56:5 
I do not know if Philip thought about this, but the prophecy was definitely fulfilled and just a sign of the transformation of people's lives from all nations in the centuries to come. So – YES: Philip’s detour to desert was very important for more than a single official from Ethiopia.

‘Manna’ for today:
To me it may seem random when it happens,
but the Holy Spirit knows what he is doing!
(1) Isaiah has four prophecies about the suffering servant. The most quoted is found in Isa 53

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