Called to Witness to All People

Key Verse: “They that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”
—Acts 8:4

Selected Scripture:
Acts 8:4-8, 26-35

AS A RESULT OF THE death of Stephen and subsequent persecution, many in the Early Church were driven away from Jerusalem. They became scattered throughout the region of Judaea and Samaria. (Acts 8:1) One might think that this turn of events would have diminished the efforts of the brethren in their witnessing to God’s Word, or that they might have become fearful or discouraged. Just the opposite was true. They were more zealous than ever! As our Key Verse explains, they saw the scattering as an opportunity to preach the word of truth in new places, to new hearers, covering a much greater area than had been possible when they were all in Jerusalem. This was a small beginning. Nevertheless it served as a start of the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophetic words, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.”—Matt. 24:14

One of those who took immediate advantage of the increased opportunity to preach the word was Philip. He, like Stephen, was one of the seven deacons chosen to serve with respect to the daily affairs and ministration of the brethren. Also similar to Stephen, Philip was well versed in the Scriptures and full of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 8:5-7, it is recorded that he preached Christ to those in Samaria, drove unclean spirits out of those who were possessed, and healed various kinds of disease and sickness. Many believed the things which he spoke.

God, seeing the zeal of Philip, gave him an even greater opportunity to spread the Gospel message. “The angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza.” (Acts 8:26) This was the furthest anyone had yet traveled to preach the Gospel, and Philip did not hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity. An Ethiopian eunuch (an Israeli proselyte) was on his way back from Jerusalem to his own country when the Holy Spirit guided Philip to his chariot. To Philip’s surprise, he found the eunuch reading from Isaiah, greatly desiring to learn, but not understanding what he was reading. (Acts 8:30-31) The place of the scripture which he was reading was Isaiah 53:7. “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.”—vss. 32-33

The eunuch was particularly desirous to know whether the prophet was speaking “of himself, or of some other man?” (Acts 8:34) Philip gladly pointed out that Isaiah was speaking of none other than Jesus. He was the sheep led to the slaughter, the lamb that opened not his mouth, the one that paid the ransom for Adam and all his posterity through his death on the cross, and subsequently was raised from the dead and exalted to the right hand of God. Philip also must have told him about God’s plan and the selection of a church class from the believers of Jesus, because when they came to water, the eunuch was baptized. What a joy it was for Philip to preach such good news! May we have the same desire, as expressed in the scripture, “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.”—Ps. 69:9

Dawn Bible Students Association
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