The first non-Samaritan Gentile to hear and receive the gospel after Yeshuaís
resurrection was an Ethiopian eunuch.  Philip had been preaching about Messiah
in the city of Samaria, where he was joined by Peter and John. (Acts 8:5-14.
ìAnd so, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord,
they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching the gospel to many villages
of the Samaritans.  But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, ëArise
and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.í (This is a
desert road.)
ìAnd he arose and went; and behold, there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court
official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her
treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship.  And he was returning and
sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah.  And the Spirit
said to Philip, ëGo up and join this chariot.íî (Acts 8:25-29)
The Ethiopian eunuch had ìcome to Jerusalem to worship . . . and was reading
the prophet Isaiah.î  He wanted to worship God in Spirit and in Truth.  That
is why he had come to Jerusalem.  That is why he was reading the prophet
Isaiah.  So God met him on that road through His servant Philip.
When Philip ìpreached Yeshua to him,î the Ethiopian believed and asked to be
baptized.  Philip baptized him, ìand when they came up out of the water, the
Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch saw him no more, but
went on his way rejoicing.  But Philip found himself at Azotus; and as he
passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities, until he came
to Caesarea.î (Acts 8:35-40)
It all happened quickly and very supernaturally.  The Spirit spoke to Philip
and he obeyed.  The Ethiopian eunuch believed the prophetic testimony about
Jesus.  Philip was snatched away by the Spirit of the Lord, and the eunuch
returned to Ethiopia.
There was no time or way to consider the implications of this new, non-Jewish
disciple.  In addition, different historical precedents made it possible to
accept him and his worship of the Lord without great dismay or puzzlement.
Almost a thousand years earlier, an Ethiopian queen had come to Jerusalem ìto
test Solomon with difficult questions.î (2 Chr. 9:1)  After Solomon answered
all her questions with wisdom, this queen responded by praising God, saying,
ìBlessed be the Lord your God who delighted in you, setting you on His throne
as king for the Lord your God; because your God loved Israel establishing them
forever, therefore He made you king over them, to do justice and
righteousness.î (2 Chr. 9:8)
There was also the precedent of Ebed-melech, another Ethiopian eunuch.  During
the reign of Zedekiah, before the destruction of Jerusalem, Ebed-melech had
rescued the prophet Jeremiah from a muddy cistern where he had been left to
die. (Jer. 38:1-13)  Because of this, the Lord told Jeremiah, ìGo and speak to
Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, ëThus says the Lord of hosts, the God of
Israel, ìBehold, I am about to bring My words on this city for disaster and
not for prosperity; and they will take place before you on that day.  But I
will deliver you on that day,î declares the Lord, ìand you shall not be given
in the hand of the men whom you dread.  For I will certainly rescue you, and
you will not fall by the sword; but you will have your own life as booty,
because you have trusted in Me,î í declares the Lord.î (Jer. 39:15-18)
It was not incomprehensible, then, for an Ethiopian eunuch to trust in the
Lord God of Israel and to recognize the voice of His prophet.  It was unusual,
but there was already a Scriptural way to understand it.  As is written in
Tanakh, ìLet not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, ëThe
Lord will surely separate me from His people.í  Neither let the eunuch say,
ëBehold, I am a dry tree.í  For thus says the Lord, ëTo the eunuchs who keep
My sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, to them I
will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, and a name better than
that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will
not be cut off.í ì (Is.56:3-5)