Philip – Led by the Spirit

“But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8:12)

I don’t think I ever really appreciated what an incredible person Philip was.  Like so many heroes of the faith, it is easy to overlook his courage and the tremendous impact he had on the early Church.

Imagine being chased from your home and driven from your own town by the threat of imprisonment or death.  Just think of all the things that would be on your mind: How will I live?  Will I ever see my friends and family again?  Can I ever go back?  Will I be safe somewhere else?  I know I can sadly speak for myself when I say that telling people about Jesus probably wouldn’t be the first thing on my mind in that situation.

But that’s exactly what happened to Philip, and that’s exactly what he does.  He faithfully and boldly follows the urging of the Holy Spirit and travels away from Jerusalem, proclaiming the Christ wherever he goes.

First, he goes to the Samaritans – the “enemies” – and finds fertile soil in the hearts of many men and women who are eager to receive the Gospel.  The power of God’s Word turns their hearts from pagan practices and witchcraft, and even Simon, the great magician, is baptized and becomes a follower.

Then, God sends Philip on the road again.  The Holy Spirit prompts him to strike up a conversation with – of all people – an Ethiopian eunuch who served as an important official to the queen.  Here he finds that the seeds of faith have already been planted through the Law and Prophets.  God has sent Philip to water this man’s heart with the good news of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  God even provides an opportunity for Philip to baptize him, opening the door for the Gospel to be spread to distant lands on another continent.

But that wasn’t the end of Philip’s incredible journey.  The Spirit leads him through other lands and villages before finally bringing him to Caesarea, where he would evangelize for decades to come.  There, Philip would undoubtedly sow the seeds of faith to many merchants and travelers, to be carried by the winds and waves throughout all the lands of the Mediterranean and beyond.

We can breathe easy, since not many of us are called to wander boldly like Philip from town to town and along dusty roads.  But the Spirit does lead us in ways just as wonderful and mysterious as it carried Philip from place to place.  In seemingly unlikely places, we are goaded by the Holy Ghost to sow the seeds of the Gospel on ground that appears, well, “horticulturally challenged.”  That’s okay; we’ve got plenty and to spare, and the Spirit bids us cast the seeds of God’s Word with reckless abandon.

By trusting in God to provide for us, we allow Him to take our focus off of ourselves and place it where it truly belongs; on the ministry He has given us.  Then we can let go and allow the Spirit to blow us where it pleases, guiding us to new and exciting opportunities to witness for our Lord.  And from there, there’s no telling where the Spirit will carry the seeds that we scatter!

“The wind blows wherever it pleases.  You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)

“Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop – thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.” (Mark 4:20)

Prayer: Lord God, guide and direct me by Your Spirit.  Lead me into what fields You will, and help me to cast the seed of Your Word far and wide; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, my Lord.  Amen.