10.11.12 - Phillip baptized an Ethiopian
Daily Scripture: Acts 8:26-39
26 An angel from the Lord spoke to Philip, "At noon, take the road that leads from Jerusalem to Gaza." (This is a desert road.) 27 So he did. Meanwhile, an Ethiopian man was on his way home from Jerusalem, where he had come to worship. He was a eunuch and an official responsible for the entire treasury of Candace. (Candace is the title given to the Ethiopian queen.) 28 He was reading the prophet Isaiah while sitting in his carriage. 29 The Spirit told Philip, "Approach this carriage and stay with it."
30 Running up to the carriage, Philip heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, "Do you really understand what you are reading?"
31 The man replied, "Without someone to guide me, how could I?" Then he invited Philip to climb up and sit with him. 32 This was the passage of scripture he was reading:
Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent
so he didn't open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was taken away from him.
Who can tell the story of his descendants
because his life was taken from the earth?
34 The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, about whom does the prophet say this? Is he talking about himself or someone else?" 35 Starting with that passage, Philip proclaimed the good news about Jesus to him. 36 As they went down the road, they came to some water.
The eunuch said, "Look! Water! What would keep me from being baptized?" 38 He ordered that the carriage halt. Both Philip and the eunuch went down to the water, where Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Lord's Spirit suddenly took Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing.
Acts is the story of how the Christian faith grew from a small Jewish sect to a movement that touched the whole Roman Empire. That wasn't a human master plan, but the direction God kept leading the Christians. Eunuchs were generally not welcome in Hebrew circles, and Ethiopians were both Gentiles and people of color. But the Holy Spirit clearly showed Phillip that this Isaiah-reading eunuch was most welcome with God.
- Because of Deuteronomy 23:1, the eunuch would not have been allowed to convert to Judaism (despite the prophetic message of Isaiah 56:3-5). The Holy Spirit took Phillip to a desolate road, where the Ethiopian in his chariot was the only human in sight. What does it tell you about God that he cared enough about this man's seeking heart to send an apostle to him for a one-on-one appointment? Have you ever sensed God calling you to do something that didn't make obvious sense?
- The eunuch was reading from Isaiah 53. When Phillip asked if he understood what he was reading, he said, "Without someone to guide me, how could I?" Do you sometimes have that feeling as you read the Bible? What resources have you found helpful in deepening your understanding of the Bible? (A good study Bible is a great place to start—and The Well bookstore carries a selection of good ones.)
Lord Jesus, when I feel lost in the desert, please continue to send people to guide me in your way. When you call me to help someone else, give me the courage and wisdom to point them to you. Amen.