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Philip the Deacon

Today's devotional reading from Concordia Pulpit Resources reflects on the account of Philip baptizing the Ethiopian eunuch, recorded in Acts 8:26–40. 

Introduction

On this day as we commemorate Philip the Deacon, we are reminded of the Holy Spirit's work through the words of Holy Scripture and in the waters of Baptism. This occasion also provides us an opportunity to give thanks for those among us who, like Philip, teach God's Word in its truth and purity.

Devotional Reading

Philip, one of the seven deacons selected by the apostles, ended up preaching in the city of Samaria (8:4–13). Then, he received a special revelation to leave this place of success and go to a desolate region, where he found one soul, a man in a chariot. . . . The man was a foreigner from Ethiopia. He had a prestigious job. He’d even come to fear the true God. Nothing stood in the way of Philip speaking Christ to him, and Jesus gave Philip strength to do it.

Every one of us has a comfort zone. Getting outside of it easily exposes our weakness, but the Spirit of God comforts the baptized. So we look to the Savior by the promise of the words of those who had the Spirit. . . . Jesus breaks down our sinful fears and continued failures of self-centeredness. His forgiveness in Absolution and given at the Lord’s Supper is the voice of good news that gives strength to the baptized. The One who gives life to the world speaks with boldness by the cross for all. We may not meet foreigners, but the Lord sees the desolate places of our family, friends, and co-workers who never hear the name of Christ.

The Word is life, able to save all such sinners. That’s why the baptized teach the Gospel. Philip had confidence to ask the Ethiopian, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He was not so much looking for an answer but extending an invitation. The man was far from prideful or careless, responding, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” (vv. 30–31). In view of the text of Isaiah, Philip had to explain the confusion over Scripture. It was not about feelings, personal experiences, or opinion, because God’s Word had life in itself to speak. The man had questions, and Philip gave answers centered on the promise of salvation for sinners. Since Jesus had said in His Great Commission, “Go baptize and teach” (see Matthew 28:19–20), the Spirit would teach through the baptized. We read, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus” (v. 35).

Devotional reading is from Concordia Pulpit Resources, Vol. 25, Part 2 © 2014 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Prayer of the Day

Almighty and everlasting God, we give thanks to You for Your servant Philip the Deacon. You called him to preach the Gospel to the peoples of Samaria and Ethiopia. Raise up in this and every land messengers of Your kingdom, that Your Church may proclaim the immeasurable riches of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.

From Treasury of Daily Prayer, page 804 © 2008 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Written by

Anna Johnson

Deaconess Anna Johnson is a marketing manager at Concordia Publishing House. After graduating from the deaconess program at Concordia University Chicago, she continued her studies at the University of Colorado—Denver in education and human development. She has worked as a church youth director and served a variety of other nonprofit organizations, such as the Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland. Anna loves playing video games and drinking a hot cup of tea almost as much as she loves her cat and her husband.

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