So [Philip] started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet.
- Acts 8:27-28
The good news about Jesus was always intended to be shared with the world. God’s power is put on full display when his followers cross racial, ethnic and cultural lines with the news and love of Jesus.
Today’s passage carries tremendous significance. Up to this point in the book of Acts, the only people who have been invited to follow Jesus were people with Jewish roots. That was about the change.
The man that Philip reached out to in the chariot was from Ethiopia and was a eunuch. Those two factors would have kept him outside of the circle of Jewish religious observance. He would have been considered an unclean foreigner and would not have been welcome in synagogues or in the inner courts of the Temple. Though he seemed interested in worshipping Israel’s God, he wouldn’t have been welcomed in Israel’s community.
The Holy Spirit sent Philip on a collision course with the Ethiopian eunuch. Their paths would not ordinarily have crossed. But that cross-cultural connection was the Ethiopian eunuch’s best opportunity to hear a witness about Jesus. God made it happen.
When Philip jumped up into the chariot with the Ethiopian eunuch, he would set a ball rolling that would change that man’s life and his community. The Ethiopian eunuch would place his faith in Christ and would get baptized in some water just off of the road. And generations later a church in Ethiopia would trace its roots back to him.
Have you ever felt called by God to cross cultural lines? What happened as a result? Where is God calling you to cross a cultural line today?