Philip meets a man from Ethiopia
26 Then an angel of the Lord God came to Philip. He said, ‘Philip, go south to the road between Jerusalem and Gaza which goes through the wilderness.’
8:26It was about 70 kilometres from Jerusalem to the town of Gaza.
27 So Philip started on his journey. While he was going along this road, he met an important officer from Ethiopia. This man had authority over the queen of Ethiopia's money. The queen was called Candace. The officer was travelling home from Jerusalem. He had been there to worship God.
8:27Ethiopia is a country in Africa. Candace was a special name for their queen. We think that the man from Ethiopia was a Gentile. But now he worshipped the God of the Jews. The Ethiopian man was riding in a chariot that horses pulled. It was not the kind of chariot that soldiers used when they went to fight.
28 Now the man was travelling home again in his chariot. He was reading something from the book that God's prophet Isaiah wrote. 29 The Holy Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and walk beside it.’
30 So Philip ran to the cart as it went along. The officer was reading aloud from the prophet Isaiah's book and Philip heard him. So Philip asked the man, ‘Do you understand the things that you are reading about?’
31 The man answered, ‘I cannot understand it. I need someone to explain it to me.’ Then he said to Philip, ‘Come up here and sit with me in the cart.’
32 The officer was reading these words from the book of Isaiah:
‘He was like a sheep that people were leading away to kill.
He was like a lamb when they are cutting off its wool,
but it makes no noise.
In the same way, he did not say anything.
33 People did not respect him at all.
They refused to judge him in a fair way.
Nobody can say anything about his descendants,
because his life on earth came to an end.’
8:33We can read this in Isaiah 53:7-8. Isaiah wrote this about Jesus hundreds of years earlier.
34 The officer said to Philip, ‘Please tell me who the prophet Isaiah wrote about. Was he writing about himself or about another person?’ 35 Then Philip explained to the man the words that Isaiah had written. Then he went on to tell him the good news about Jesus. 36 As they were travelling along the road, they came to a place with some water. The man said to Philip, ‘Look! There is some water here. Please will you baptize me? Is there anything to stop you?’
[ 37 Philip said to him, ‘I can baptize you if you really believe in Jesus.’ The man said to Philip, ‘I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’]
8:37Most Bibles do not have verse 37.
38 The officer said to the man who was driving the chariot, ‘Stop the chariot!’ Then he went down with Philip into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39 They both came up out of the water again. Immediately the Lord's Holy Spirit took Philip away from that place. The officer did not see Philip again. He continued his journey and he was very happy.
40 Philip saw that he was now in Azotus. From there, he visited many towns and he told people the good news about Jesus. He did this as he went all the way to Caesarea.
8:40Azotus was a town 30 kilometres north of Gaza.
8:40Caesarea was an important city in Israel. The Roman ruler sometimes lived there. Caesarea was at the coast and it was an important port. It was 70 kilometres from Jerusalem. We think that Philip lived in Caesarea for many years. Philip was still living in Caesarea when Luke wrote about him again in Acts 21:8.