Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | April 23, 2014

A Eunuch’s Legacy

En route to Ethiopia

In just a few hours I will board my flight to Ethiopia with my friends from Innovative Humanitarian Solutions. We are headed to northern Ethiopia where we will serve the needs of hundreds of unaccompanied Eritrean refugee kids who don’t know the whereabouts or welfare of their parents. These kids are living on the ragged edge of risk and danger in displacement camps. We are walking through an open door of opportunity to help change the world for these children.

As I have prepared spiritually for this next adventure, I have searched the Scriptures for references to Ethiopia. There are over sixty references to this East African nation in the Bible. Christianity there dates back to the days of Philip in Acts 8. The stoning of Stephen, the first martyr, ignited the expansion of the church beyond Jerusalem. A believer named Philip, later known as Philip the evangelist (Acts 21:8), ventured to Samaria and unwittingly became the first missionary in Acts — the first to carry the good news to unreached peoples.

Acts records that, after a time in Samaria, an angel of the Lord directed Philip to go to a desert road where he met an Ethiopian eunuch who was on his way home from Jerusalem. This man was sitting in his chariot and reading the prophet Isaiah when the Holy Spirit told Philip to take the initiative to walk beside the chariot. Like Philip, we should be sensitive to the Spirit’s promptings to take the initiative in sharing our faith.

When Philip approached the chariot he heard the Ethiopian reading the prophet Isaiah. Listening enabled Philip to discover where the Ethiopian was in his understanding. We can miss opportunities to share the gospel when we fail to listen first. Listening can help us determine what questions to ask that may further open an individual’s heart to the good news about Jesus. Philip took advantage of the opportunity to tactfully ask the man if he understood what he was reading.

philip-with-ethiopian-eunuchFrustrated at being unable to understand the passage, the Ethiopian told Philip that he needed for someone to guide him. He then invited Philip to sit with him in the chariot. There is, perhaps, no greater invitation that a follower of Jesus can receive from someone seeking after the truth. More than once on my travels I have received such an invitation to sit and explain the Scriptures to someone searching for the truth.

The Ethiopian was reading from Isaiah 53 — a passage in which Isaiah foretold the suffering and death of the Messiah. Philip had likely learned the significance of this passage from the teaching of the apostles. So, when the Ethiopian asked Philip to explain whether Isaiah was writing of himself or someone else, Philip was ready to answer him. He could not have had a better starting point for sharing the good news about Jesus. Like Philip, we have to meet people where they are and then use the Scriptures to point them to Jesus.

The rest of the story is history. The Ethiopian eunuch embraced the gospel and became the first to take the good news to his own people. Although he left no physical lineage, the eunuch left a spiritual legacy that continues to this day.

If we will listen carefully, like Philip, we too will hear the sound of chariot wheels that signal an approaching opportunity to talk with others about Jesus. Don’t let those chariots pass you by. Take the initiative to share Jesus with someone seeking the right path. You never know how many generations you might impact by sharing the good news with one person.

I invite you to follow my upcoming journey to Ethiopia over the coming days. And please join me in praying for the welfare of the hundreds of unaccompanied Eritrean children living in displacement camps in northern Ethiopia. Our team will serve the needs of these kids in the name of Jesus — the One who transformed the life of an Ethiopian eunuch searching for answers on a lonely desert road.


Responses

  1. I have been joined in prayer with your journey to Ethiopia!

    Mortuza

    Bangladesh


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