So Philip started out. On his way he met an Ethiopian official. The man had an important position. He was in charge of all the wealth of Candace. She was the queen of Ethiopia. He had gone to Jerusalem to worship. On his way home he was sitting in his chariot. He was reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. The Holy Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot. Stay near it."
So Philip ran up to the chariot. He heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you're reading?" Philip asked. "How can I?" he said. "I need someone to explain it to me." So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Here is the part of Scripture the official was reading. It says,
"He was led like a sheep to be killed.
Just as lambs are silent while their wool is being cut off,
he did not open his mouth.
When he was treated badly, he was refused a fair trial.
Who can say anything about his children?
His life was cut off from the earth." (Isaiah 53:7- 8)
The official said to Philip, "Tell me, please. Who is the prophet talking about; Himself, or someone else?" Then Philip began with that same part of Scripture. He told him the good news about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water. The official said, "Look! Here is water! Why shouldn't I be baptized?" He gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the official went down into the water. Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away. The official did not see him again. He went on his way full of joy. (Acts 8:27-39 NIrV)
Not focusing on Philip, let’s examine the Ethiopian. He proceeded in a normal way, back to his native land after his conversion. We are told no more of this man in the New Testament yet many early church fathers (Irenaeus: A.D. 130-202) viewed this man as the father of evangelism in Ethiopia. What we are told is that this man went his way rejoicing (Acts 8:39). When the gospel is presented and is received, there is great joy. Such was the case in the city of Samaria (Acts 8:8). It is the case 1 Thessalonians 1:6 and it is the joy of our salvation in Psalm 51:12. How can there not be joy when a soul is redeemed?
The conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch was a very significant event, recorded in the midst of the great Samaritan revival. Samaritans, though considered half-breeds, were accepted by the church as believers. This Ethiopian was a kind of first fruits of the Gentiles. His race and if in fact he was a true eunuch, would have kept him from approaching God. Yet God approached him! God sought him out in the desert, making it clear that he was a true saint, and the first of many more to come. God is no respecter of person (Romans 2:11). He judges the heart of every man and woman. Saved through the efforts of Philip and not a highly-regarded apostle such as Peter (or even later Paul) God’s sovereign will is showcased.
God still guides. God still uses supernatural means at times. He specifically and unquestionably guides men to do that which they would not have ordinarily have done. Just as God guided Philip to set aside his Samaritan ministry for a time and to go to this remote place to bring about the conversion of an African, He may just ask you or me to step away from our plans and comfort zone to do His bidding. God will meet the needs. We have to supply the obedience! Through Philip, the Ethiopian met God in a deserted place, when he came to realize that his religion was not enough, and that Jesus was the Savior, who died for his sins. Are we willing to allow God to take us into the deserted places for His sake and the sake of others who need to experience the Savior?
(notes from: The Ethiopian Eunuch, Bob Deffinbaugh, Copyright ©1996-2006 Biblical Studies Press)