Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. (Acts 8:35)
The Only Way To Preach Jesus
Philip was a hard working preacher in the early days of the church. He lived through the persecution of Saul and went to Samaria and preached Christ to them. Multitudes heeded the words of Philip as he showed the powerful message of the man from Nazareth and confirmed the word with signs and wonders. There was great joy in the city because of the diligent work of Philip. The Holy Spirit had more work for the evangelist to do and sent him toward the south along the road which went down from Jerusalem to Gaza. It was a desolate place but there was a man returning from Jerusalem on his way home that God had a special plan for. Queen Candace of Ethiopia had a eunuch that was in charge of her treasury and he had come to Jerusalem to worship; a journey more than two thousand miles. Philip found the eunuch reading the book of Isaiah and inquired if he understood what he was reading. Joining the treasurer in his chariot, Philip began at the reading of Isaiah 53 and preached Jesus to him. It was later as they went down the road the eunuch asked to be baptized and with great joy a child of God was added to the body of Christ.
The sermon by Philip is not recorded (what a powerful lesson that must have been) but the Holy Spirit shows the nature of preaching is based on the message of Jesus Christ. He began with scripture and preached the word of God to the eunuch. The recipient of the message responded in accord with the power of the message by asking to be baptized. Preaching is foremost and fundamentally established within the framework of the word of God alone. Philip did not philosophize with the wisdom of men, what the latest teaching from the leaders of the church would be or his own ideas of what this man needed to do to be saved. The eunuch was reading aloud the book of Isaiah. Philip began at Isaiah 53:7-8 and preached Jesus. Truth cannot be established if it does not follow the message of the book and to establish that truth the word of God must be opened and examined. Too often people want to discuss the Bible without opening the Bible which only leads to speculation of carnal wisdom from the whims and misguided notions of men. Preaching is communication. It is transferring the message of the cross to ears that are attentive to hear. No man should undertaking the task of teaching the message of salvation with a closed Bible. Preaching Jesus is where truth is established, ordained and propagated in the hearts of those who need its saving power. The word accomplishes that – not man.
It is important for the word to be preached and it is also vital the hearer respond to the word of God. The eunuch had an honest and open heart. He was a seeker, looking for and longing after the will of God. He did not have to believe what Philip showed him. There were many philosophies of men that could be used to argue the message of Jesus was not necessary and the eunuch could have appealed to any number in his defense. What happened with the man from Ethiopia was an honest appeal to what the scriptures said without the prejudice of denying the truth. Philip preached Jesus to him and it was the eunuch who asked about baptism. That is an incredible part of this story as the response to the gospel was on the heart of the eunuch. Preaching Jesus includes water baptism and the necessity of it; otherwise why would the eunuch appeal to its message with urgency? The reason is when the story of Jesus is preached from scripture (words) then knowledge of salvation reveals itself to the open and honest heart. Philip began with the words of God and preached the word of God so the eunuch could believe the word of God. Preaching is declaring Jesus and declaring Jesus begins with scripture.