We can only begin to imagine the impact of this calling on these “unschooled, ordinary men”…who had “been with Jesus” (4:13). These chosen men were not gifted orators…nor did they hold any remarkable credentials. But they had a powerful Gospel message to share about their resurrected Lord and Savior! Yes, these eye witnesses had a meaningful message to share!
There was a blending of celebration and confusion in that early church experience. The growth of the church was exponential — from 12...to 3000 (2:41) …to 5000 (4:4)….
Yet the challenges faced by those disciples were daunting. This ground-swell movement drew the attention of the opposing religious leaders. Stephen was martyred for his Savior-centered message (7:51-60)…and then the persecution escalated and “all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria” (8:1) (Phase one of Christ‘s expansion plan) (1:8).
There was one zealous Pharisee by the name of Saul “who began to destroy the church” (8:3a). His strategy was to go ”house to house” arresting followers of Christ (vs.8b).
In the midst of all of this we find a beautiful story of conversion…one with an African connection. Philip, one of the new messengers for Christ, was told by an angel to visit a an “Ethiopian eunuch”… “an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians” (8:27). Sometimes Christ’s mission focuses in on a single individual…creating a new Gospel “ripple.”
Philip answered this official’s questions regarding a prophecy connected to Christ (vss.32-35). As a result, this Ethiopian received baptism (vss.36-38) and became a believer in his new-found Savior.
A study of the book of Acts is a study of discipleship in action. Passionate followers of Christ spread His message and brought more into the kingdom through baptism and teaching (Matthew 28:19-20a).
We are modern day beneficiaries of this same strategy. We, too, are part of the “world”-wide outreach of Christ! Our Savior’s arms of love reach out to us as well!