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Philip was the evangelist whose mission was focused on equality of all people. He was known for taking the gospel to people with no regards to ethnicity or nationality.
Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. ACTS 8:5–6
In His great commission to the disciples, Jesus revealed that His gospel was to smash all ethnic, national, and cultural barriers. Philip the evangelist embraced the inclusive nature of the gospel with inspiring zeal.
Philip was first mentioned as one of seven men chosen by the apostles to care for the widows who belonged to the Jerusalem church. Even this seemingly small service was a barrier-breaking act.
Philip and his colleagues were responsible for making sure that the widows were treated equally, regardless of whether they were Hellenistic (Greek) or Hebraic Jews.
Later, when Saul’s persecution scattered the church of Jerusalem, Philip seized the opportunity to go to Samaria. By extending the good news of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, to the Samaritans, Philip shattered another centuries-old barrier.
The great evangelist was not finished with his barrier-breaking career, either. Having been directed by an angel, Philip journeyed from Jerusalem to Gaza, meeting an Ethiopian eunuch along the way. This man had two strikes against him. First, he was not Jewish (not even part Jewish, as the Samaritans were). Second, as a eunuch, Jewish law regarded him as ritually unclean – he was, in effect, “damaged goods.”
Yet Philip did not hesitate to sit with the eunuch and explain the gospel to him. The real test, however, came when the eunuch asked to be baptized. By agreeing to perform the ancient purification ritual, Philip acknowledged that in God’s eyes, the eunuch was clean, pure, and whole.
Philip’s life became the first of many signs that the good news of Jesus is for all people.
The name Philip means “one who loves horses” in Greek. In the case of Philip the evangelist, this turned out to be an appropriate name, since he had to run up to a horse-drawn chariot in order to engage the Ethiopian eunuch in conversation! (See Acts 8.)