When revival broke out in Jerusalem, an angel spoke to the apostle Philip, instructing him to go to the Gaza desert where he would meet an Ethiopian diplomat riding in a chariot. Philip found the man reading aloud from the book of Isaiah, so he asked the official, “Understandest thou what thou readest?” (Acts 8:30).
Apparently, the diplomat was stuck on a passage that baffled him: “He made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:9-11).
Try to imagine the Ethiopian’s excitement as he read these wonderful things. Evidently, he was hungry for God or he would not have been reading the Scriptures. And now Isaiah’s prophecy revealed the coming of an eternal king. With every revelation, the diplomat’s thoughts must have mounted: “Who is this wonderful Man?”
First, “Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35). Philip explained to the diplomat, “The Man you’re reading about has already come. His name is Jesus of Nazareth, and He is the Messiah.”
Next, Philip explained Isaiah 53:11:“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” Philip told the diplomat, in essence, “Christ’s travail was the crucifixion. That’s when He was cut off and buried. But the Father raised Him from the dead and now He is alive in glory. Everyone who confesses His name and believes on Him becomes His child. Indeed, Christ’s seed lives in every nation. That’s how His life is prolonged—through the Holy Spirit in His children. And now you can be His child, too.”
What incredible news to the Ethiopian’s ears. It’s no wonder he was eager to leap out of his chariot and be baptized. “He answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him” (Acts 8:37-38).