The Worth of a Person

KEY VERSE: “Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” —Acts 8:35

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Acts 8:5, 6, 26-38

THE NEWLY SELECTED deacons in the Early Church must have been very active in their service to the Lord. Stephen’s activity was short-lived, when he was stoned to death. The persecution of these Early Christians reached a new peak forcing many who had come from other lands to leave Jerusalem. Others who dwelt in the area also went to seek new homes. At the time of Stephen’s death, the Scriptures say, “On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.”—Acts 8:1, NIV

This was God’s way of extending the Gospel message, and we read further: “Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews.” (Acts 11:19, NIV) The time for God’s exclusive favor to the Jews had not yet ended, because these events occurred in A.D. 34 and 35.

One of those who left Jerusalem then was Philip, a newly selected deacon in the church. He went to a city in Samaria and preached Christ. Philip’s ministry was successful, for we read: “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, NIV

Philip, when he went to Samaria to begin his ministry, had gone to an area that was not held in high esteem by the Jews of Judea. The Samaritans were a mixture of Babylonians and Jews through intermarriage. Furthermore, the Jews living there were from the ten tribe, or northern kingdom, and no love was lost between them and Judeans. They were not considered to be people of worth. But God saw that there was worth there, and blessed them by calling them into the body of Christ. The worth of a person is not evaluated by his status, wealth, education, or race; but because God looks upon the heart.

An angel told Philip to use a certain road which was used by travelers from Jerusalem to Gaza. It was there that he encountered a eunuch of Ethiopia—a man of authority—in charge of the treasury of Candace, Queen of Ethiopia. Even though he was a Jewish proselyte, he was not allowed to go into the Temple or synagogue because he was a eunuch. Being devout, he was reading from the Book of Isaiah as he traveled in his chariot from Jerusalem. Philip asked him if he understood what he was reading. “How can I, he said, unless someone explains it to me?” So Philip joined him.—Acts 8:31, NIV

When reading the passage in Isaiah 53:7,8, the eunuch could not understand who Isaiah was talking about. As our Key Verse says, this gave Philip an opportunity to begin “with that very passage of scripture, and” to go on to explain the “good news about Jesus.” (Acts 8:35, NIV) Both Jews and proselytes did not know that first Messiah had to suffer and die. The eunuch was baptized.—vs. 36, NIV

Philip’s ministry had brought him to another person whom God found worthy to run for the prize of the high calling even though Judaic society could not fully accept him. This has been true of all those selected for this privilege, even as the Apostle Paul tells us so well in I Corinthians 1:26-31.

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |