Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over to this chariot and join it.’ So, Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” (Acts 8:29-31)
The story of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts, chapter 8 reveals to us that there is more to life than what meets the eye. We literally encounter angels daily without knowing it. Just as God sent Philip to the Ethiopian Eunuch, God sends certain people our way for certain reasons. The book of Hebrew warns: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)
Treat everyone you meet with kindness because whether you admit it or not, there is a Divine Plan in progress. God, the master planner sets things in place and arranges events. To the Ethiopian Eunuch, it was just a coincidence that Philip joined his chariot at a time he needed someone to explain the scriptures to him. Reading the story now, we can see that it was not an ordinary coincidence.
You may wonder, does it mean that everything has been arranged already? Yes and No. Yes, because God has plans for every moment of our lives. (Cf. Jeremiah 29:11). No, because God gives us the power of choice. We can alter these plans if we refuse to heed the voice of God deep within us. The Spirit spoke to Philip instructing him to join this particular chariot. Philip could have resisted the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Who knows? God could have sent someone else and on the day of Judgement, Philip would have to answer for it. (Cf. Matthew 24:45-51)
On the other hand, this experience teaches us that when we are ready for God, (when we sincerely desire to get close to God; drop our bad habits, deepen our understanding of the scriptures), etc. God is very happy and He does everything to help us grow. As the saying goes: “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” This is what Jesus confirms in our Gospel passage when he said: “No one can come to me unless the Father draws him.” (John 6:44) And as James puts it: “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8).
For his attempt to read the scriptures, the Eunuch did not just get a deeper understanding of God’s word, he also received baptism. Truly, when our desire to know God increases in our hearts, when we are open to His Word and make efforts to read the Bible, we should bear in mind that such actions do not go unnoticed in heaven. God takes note of every firm resolution we make. Jesus told us: “I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7)
If there is so much joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, if God is happy to send people our way when we make efforts to come close to Him, it means that God is not happy when we decide to walk away from Him.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, Jesus, send good people my way daily that I may grow in Spirit. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: Acts 8:26-40, Ps. 66:8-9,16-17,20, John 6:44-51)*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu