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Acts 8 v 26 - 40

You will find I have attached a map to this blog which shows the journey of Philip to meet the Ethiopian eunuch.

As can be seen, there was a road from Jerusalem which led via Bethlehem and Hebron and joined the main road to Egypt just south of Gaza. This road which led by Gaza was hugely popular and it has been estimated that most within the Roman Empire would have used it at some time.

Now this Ethiopian eunuch was the Chancellor of Exchequer for the Queen of Ethiopia. The name given here as Candace was actually the title for all Ethiopian Queens. He had been to Jerusalem to worship and so would be considered a Jewish proselyte if he had been circumcised or a 'God-fearer' if not. For many non-Jews the Jewish religion shone like a beacon in a dark world. We may have our criticism of the Jewish religion today and the God portrayed in the Old Testament, but compared to the lax morals and wantonness of the Roman and Greek gods and their worshippers, the austere moral standards of the Jews would have been a breath of fresh air to many.

This would have been a very special journey for the man. Even today, this trip of over four thousand kilometres would take around eighty hours to complete! Even in a fast moving chariot this journey for him would have taken a couple of weeks to drive to Jerusalem and the same to return! We don't know what feast the man had attended, but this was a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage! We can note that he was still hungry to know more and was poring over the prophecy of Isaiah as he travelled. Please don't dismiss the Old Testament as unreadable or irrelevant: there is great beauty within its covers and Isaiah is one of the most powerful books, mainly for its highly accurate prophecies of the coming of Jesus Christ. This is what the man is reading when Philip approaches him, the fifty-third chapter, and he asks Philip about this prophecy. Philip tells him about Jesus and immediately he becomes a Christian believer and demands to be baptised.

Tradition has it that this highly important individual went home and evangelised Ethiopia. We know for certain that he would have found it impossible to have kept his new-found joy to himself. The Holy Spirit moves without borders. Seek to listen to Him and be guided by Him and you too will be bringing those who are hungry into God's Kingdom.


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