Message: A Continued Triumphal Entry
Preacher: Tim Gillespie
Reflection: Kris de Bruin
Live Wonder: Jessyka Albert
Live Adventure: Jessyka Albert
Live Purpose: Kyle Smith
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin today in prayer. Ask God for understanding through the Holy Spirit and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Acts 8:26-40 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: The first time that we encounter Phillip is in the organization of the seven deacons (Acts 6:1-7). Phillip, who we might assume was a Greek Jew, was among the men placed in charge of taking care of the church’s operational needs. The next time he appears in the Bible, he is in Samaria teaching and healing in the name of Jesus (Acts 8:4-8). In this week’s passage, he has been called to go south towards Gaza where the Desert Road—which traveled from Samaria passing through Jerusalem toward Gaza and then to Egypt—intersects with the main road running from Northeastern Africa towards Caesarea along the Mediterranean Sea.
In order to reach his destination, Phillip must pass through Jerusalem. Since the stoning of Stephen, passing through Jerusalem as a known preacher of “the Way,” was not the safest thing to do (Acts 8:1). Sure, Phillip could’ve travelled west toward Caesarea first and then south to the intersection, but the Angel charged him to travel directly south on the Desert Road. It seems likely that Phillip might have experienced a Jonah moment, wanting to do anything but follow this seemingly misguided directive.
Those words, “Rise and go,” are pregnant with meaning for each of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus. If you’ve ever been a missionary, or a pastor, or in some position where God called you to go somewhere that you didn’t want to go, you might be able to recognize what Phillip must’ve been thinking. Luke tells us that he went ahead and took this journey, arriving safely at his destination and running to meet the Ethiopian at his chariot. Peter Roennfeldt notes that this action must’ve struck the audience of the book of Acts as strange, since both Gentiles and eunuchs were considered unwelcome in the temple (Deuteronomy 23:1). Did Phillip’s experience in Samaria ignite within him a radical new love for those on the edges of society?
It is surprising to note how easy it is to reject a section of the population because of their “otherness,” or brokenness—something that makes them different in some way. Yet whenever that which we reject enters our homes or friendship circles our hearts seem to change. Suddenly we realize that they, like us, are only human. They are also yearning for recognition, for relationships, for belonging. I wonder what would happen if we could somehow get ourselves to associate with the marginalized. Would we realize that they are very much like us after all? This seems to be what Phillip experienced in Samaria. This experience made it easy for him—at the possible expense of his life—to travel through Jerusalem to meet the Ethiopian eunuch.
Recalibrate: When has God called you to rise and go somewhere?
Respond: How can you become an ally to the marginalized in your community?
Research: Watch Pastor Alareece Collie engage students on the topic of injustice.
When was the first time you ever went somewhere without your child? How did it feel? There’s a moment when you just have to get up and go! Philip had to get up and go. He had a calling, but it wasn’t always easy to follow. As a family with a little one (or ones), where are you called to go?
Have you gone on a trip anywhere? Maybe in a car or an airplane? Philip had to walk to get where he was going! He went to the place where God was calling him. Do you think that God might call you to go somewhere? Where do you think that will be?
When I was in junior high, skateboarding was my life! To get to the best skate spots in town, I had to pass a house where a terrifying dog would attack as I rolled by. This sometimes stopped me from skateboarding because I had genuine fear! Has fear ever stopped you from doing what God has called you to do? Has fear ever stopped you from helping others? It didn’t stop Phillip. Pray this prayer to Jesus: “Make me a Phillip!”