“And there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:8).
Workers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory experienced a kind of joy that can be experienced only after a five-year wait on a $1.1 billion project. They stood to their feet and applauded after the Juno spacecraft entered Jupiter’s orbit.
The hugs and shouts came from those who realized how many things had to go right in order for the orbit to be successful. After all, this space- craft had to be slowed down after it had been accelerated to the fastest speed of any human-made object: 165,000 MPH.
But Philip the evangelist may have travelled faster and produced a more lasting joy. The Bible states that “the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away” and that he “was found at Azotus” (Acts 8:39, 40). Although it is not clear why God chose to transport Philip with such speed, it is evident that his record of proclaiming the good news of Jesus was a stunning one.
During his first mission to Samaria, Philip not only “preached Christ” (Acts 8:5) but also cast out demons and healed the sick and paralysed. This resulted in “great joy in that city” (verse 8).
This rejoicing continued after an angel guided Philip to the chariot of a dignitary from Ethiopia. Although this Ethiopian man occupied a position of “great authority” (Acts 8:27), Philip was not intimidated. After all, in Samaria God had used him to lead even a sorcerer to believe. Once again, Philip “preached Jesus” (verse 35) after being invited to explain a Bible passage to the dignitary. This led to the same emotion: joy. The record states that even though the Spirit caught Philip away so that the convert could no longer see him, the Ethiopian still “went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39). The joy-bringing Spirit was already using his joy-bringer elsewhere.
Father, please use me to quickly spread the joy of the gospel.
For Further Study: Acts 8; Psalm 5:11; Isaiah 49:13