The Sprit Beckons You (Part III) - Will You go to Your Gaza?
Philip was one of 500 people (1 Cor. 15:6) who heard Jesus say, “Wait for the promise of the Father" (the baptism of the Holy Spirit; Day of Pentecost). Jesus said that they would receive power to be witnesses (providing evidence of Jesus) (Acts 1:4&8). Philip was one of eleven disciples that heard Jesus say, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe, In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mk. 16:15-18). Philip didn’t pause with the thought, “Now, should I? Surely, Jesus meant somebody else.” No, he simply obeyed.
He was filled with the Holy Spirit; and even during great persecution of Christians, he went to Samaria and preached Jesus. Jesus by the Spirit confirmed the Word with miracles, deliverances, and healings; and there was great joy in the city (Acts 8:5-8). Later, many of these Samaritans, too, are filled with the Spirit by the laying on of hands (v.17). Philip was enjoying a mighty move of God among the multitudes. …But what was this? The angel of the Lord told him to leave the many people and go south to Gaza, a desert land. Once again, he obeys the Lord only to find an Ethiopian man sitting in a chariot reading Isaiah 53:7&8. “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot” (v.29). What was this? Philip leaves a multitude to minister to one man from Africa? This one man had great authority in that he had charge of all of Queen Candace’s treasure of Ethiopia. He had come to Jerusalem to worship; and on his way home, he stopped to read the Bible. Philip expounded the Scripture; once again, preaching Jesus.
Notice in verse 36, Philip and the Ethiopian are “on their way”. They are traveling in the chariot. Where are they going? Could it be that the Ethiopian man wanted Philip to preach Jesus in his country? While on their way, the Ethiopian sees a body of water and desires to be baptized. He confessed that he believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God (v. 37). Philip baptizes him; and when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip. The Ethiopian saw him no more; yet, he went on his way rejoicing (v.39). Can you imagine? Philip disappears. We see in verse 40 that he ends up in Azotus (34 miles from where he baptized the Ethiopian). How could the Ethiopian be rejoicing? He had been born again. Philip was willing to preach to his people, but the Spirit had another plan. The Ethiopian would preach Jesus to them.
The Lord may send you to a multitude to preach Jesus, or He may send you to one. Remember, that one, in turn, may preach to a multitude. Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. He cares for the “one”. Will you go? Oh, you may say, “…But Philip was a disciple.” Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (Jn. 8:31). We are called to be filled with the Spirit, and to go and preach Jesus. Preach Jesus where you are; and if He calls you to your Gaza, please go.