“Jehovah’s spirit quickly led Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him anymore, but he went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, found himself in Ashdod, and he went through the territory and kept on declaring the good news to all the cities until he got to Caesarea.”
After Philip taught and baptized the Ethiopian traveler, he appears to have been suddenly swept away to the town of Ashdod.
He then proceeded to travel north 80 km (50 mi), presumably by foot, to Caesarea.
He “kept on declaring the good news” zealously, despite having had no say in his choice of territory.
Perhaps he had left unfinished business or personal belongings in Jerusalem, but he listened to the Holy Spirit’s direction and preached along the Mediterranean coastline.
Sometimes we have the privilege of studying the Bible with someone who values what they learn to the point of becoming a baptized Jehovah’s Witness.
While they rejoice with their new hope, we have to keep moving forward, bringing the kingdom message to as many people as possible.
I vividly recall meeting a student under similar circumstances as Philip and the eunuch’s, in the sense that she was reading a Watchtower magazine when we arrived at her business.
I asked her if she understood what she was reading.
She said, in sign language, “How? If no one explains it to me?”
She took the steps to get baptized six months later, despite having two serious disabilities.
We seldom meet people so eager to learn in our ministry, but when we do, their memory continues to motivate us for the rest of our lives, regardless of which territory we end up in.
“[…] He sighed deeply in his spirit […].”
Jesus was a man who clearly expressed his emotions.
This is the only passage where the greek verb “anastenazas,” or exasperation, is used in the Scriptures.
It describes how the Pharisees’ lack of faith made him feel.
But Jesus also sighed when speaking sign language to a deaf man he was about to cure. (“estenazen,” Mark 7:34)
He did not simply go through mechanical motions like an overworked doctor.
His sigh conveyed heartfelt empathy, a quality he reflected from our heavenly Father.
People may respond favorably or critically to God’s message, and they can move us, encourage us or drain us.
And like Jesus, we will need to discern who truly is appreciative of the good news and keep looking for them without becoming disheartened.
“[…] The sons of the Kingdom will be thrown into the darkness outside.”
Jesus knew his Jewish contemporaries would reject him as the Messiah.
As God’s people, they were the first to have the opportunity of joining Jesus in his heavenly kingdom. (Gal. 3:29; Heb. 6:17,18)
But most rejected the signs that its king, Jesus, was walking amongst them. (Matt. 12:38-40)
Perhaps they expected the Messiah to rebel against Roman rule and establish God’s kingdom there and then. (Dan. 7:14; Luke 23:2; John 18:33-35)
Still, Jesus continued to carry out his ministry until the end, confident that God would bless all who eventually followed him. (Matt. 8:11, 20:28)
We do not know who will listen to us when we share God’s kingdom message in our communities, and most reject it.
But we can imitate Christ by enduring with a positive attitude.
“For this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says:’Here I am, and I myself will search for my sheep, and I will care for them.'”
As time proceeds deeper into the “last days,” Jehovah God actively looks for those who have strayed from the flock. (John 10:16; 2 Tim. 3:1-5)
Although Jehovah’s Witnesses’ worldwide preaching work is primarily aimed at witnessing to non-believers, from time to time we run into a stray sheep who for one reason or another has seized associating with the congregation.
Because our work is headed by angels, we are able to find repentant brothers and sisters who recognize the times we are living in and ask for help to return to Jehovah before it is too late. (Zep. 2:2,3; Rev. 14:6,7)
It is an undeserved honor to be allowed to collaborate with our kind heavenly Father in this soul saving work. (1 Cor. 3:9)
“I will cause a horn to sprout for the house of Israel,* and I will give you an opportunity to speak among them […].
*(endow the house of Israel with strength)”
The “horn” metaphor in this passage is meant to illustrate God giving strength to his people. (1 Sam. 2:10)
Although speaking God’s message is a privilege, there are times when we may feel tired and discouraged.
When we feel that way, we rely on God’s power which is “beyond what is normal” to fulfill our ministry. (2 Cor. 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:5)
We do so by praying to him for strength, following Christ’s cheerful example, and by leaving our problems in God’s hands. (1 Sam. 1:10, 18; Acts 20:35)
“[…] A faithful envoy brings healing,”
Christians have been commissioned to declare the good news of God’s kingdom (Matt. 28:19,20; Mark 13:10).
We should cherish the privilege of sharing hope with others through dispersing knowledge of God’s Word (1 Tim. 2:3-6).
It is exciting to take part in a living prophecy (Dan. 12:4; Matt. 24:14).
Still, we are not immune to apathy, opposition, negative responses or the daily pressures of life.
It is important to meditate on the benefits God’s message brings and to not undermine what it accomplishes.
While most will respond unfavorably, the meek will truly experience healing upon learning of God’s will for them (Isa. 52:7).
“The couriers riding the post-horses used in the royal service went out urgently and speedily at the king’s order.”
Once King Ahasuerus authorized Mordecai to create laws that enabled the Jews to defend themselves from attackers, the law was promulgated urgently throughout the kingdom.
This happened late in the Jewish month of Sivan (mid-June).
Haman, who was now dead, had superstitiously scheduled their genocide for the month of Adar in the next year (early March) (Es. 7:10; 8:11,12).
This means the Jews had 8 and a half months to prepare themselves for the attack.
They did not slack in getting the word out, but did so with urgency, knowing that the more time people had to prepare themselves, the more likely they were to survive.
This reminds me of the life-saving preaching work we carry out, letting our neighbors know God’s day is near (1 Tim. 4:16).
Although we do not know the exact date, if we preach with a sense of urgency during these last days, we will give people more time to prepare themselves and be saved (Matt. 25:13; 2 Tim. 3:1-5, 4:2).