We are introduced to Saul, Philip, and Simon, and the differences between the behaviors of the three men are striking. Saul is going house to house arresting believers. Philip is performing great feats and preaching the gospel of Jesus. And Simon is amazing crowds with magic tricks. Philip proves to be the focal point, so much so that Simon is overwhelmed enough to drop what he’s doing and start following Philip around. When Peter and John show up to check in on what’s going on, Simon desires the power of the Holy Spirit to such an extent that he offers them money. Turns out the Holy Spirit is not for sale, Simon is rebuked, and he asks for prayer for forgiveness.
Meanwhile, God arranges an encounter between Philip and an Ethiopian group traveling home. The Spirit encourages Philip to stay close to the chariot. As a result, Philip engages the man inside in a conversation about the passage in Isaiah the man is reading. Philip’s wisdom about the passage and his subsequent sharing of the good news of Jesus is so convincing the man requests to be baptized!
Philip is an excellent example of what it takes for us to have a life-changing encounter with someone: Understanding scripture, seeking guidance from God, and being quick to obey and take advantage of opportunities He places in front of us. God provides these things every day. What will you do to step up to the challenge?