I recently saw the movie The Time Traveler’s Wife. In it a man has the unusual experience of being supernaturally plucked from where he is and, in a mere nanosecond, transported back in time to another location. After a short duration in the past, he is again miraculously transported back to the present. He never quite knows when he will go, or where he will land. The film, like the novel it’s based on, is a love story with a science-fiction twist.
This morning as I was reading in the book of Acts I read a similar story – a love story with a supernatural twist.
In Acts chapter 8 I find a man named Phillip ...
– not Philip the apostle, one of the twelve, but another believer – preaching Christ to the Samarians. At this point, following Christ’s ascent into heaven and the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down in Christ’s place, the disciples had stayed in Jerusalem. Rather than going out to the ends of the earth to preach the good news of Christ to people everywhere, they were remaining on familiar ground. It would take persecution to drive Jewish believers out of Jerusalem to surrounding regions where they could spread the message of Jesus.
Phillip had fled the city and taken up that task. He was teaching the Gentiles that God loved them and Christ died for them.
The end of Acts 8 tells one of these accounts. An angel of the Lord instructed Phillip to go walk a specific road in a certain direction. When he did, he saw an African man there returning to Africa from Jerusalem. The man, a eunuch, was an officer in the royal household of Ethiopia. Phillip heard the Holy Spirit instruct him to go near to his chariot. Obeying, Phillip found the man reading the book of Isaiah – God was already wooing this man’s heart. Indeed, already planning for salvation to come to the continent of Africa. While Africa was clueless about Christ and dead in its sins, God’s love paved the way for redemption. I told you it was a love story!
Phillip helped the man understand what he was reading in Isaiah – a prophecy about Christ – and explained to him the message of salvation. The Ethiopian believed the account of Christ. Then he spotted some nearby water and asked to be baptized. All of the story until this point has been supernatural – all driven by the heart of God – but here’s where the science-fiction-like twist comes in. Read it for yourself:
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. Meanwhile, Philip found himself farther north at the town of Azotus. He preached the Good News there and in every town along the way until he came to Caesarea. (Acts 8:39-40, NLT)
Bam! Just like that - like the time traveler in the movie I watched – Phillip was supernaturally transported from that moment in the water with the Ethiopian to another town farther north where he would continue telling the Gentiles of Jesus. Wow, can you imagine?
God travels through space and time without being bound by it. Let that sink in just a minute. He is already in the middle of your day, and in the middle of your tomorrow ... Surely then, we can trust Him with our days.