Updated: Jun 19, 2020
Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch
26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. 27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:
“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opens not his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”
34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
Is there a verse or passage that stands out to you? Why?
Take a moment to pray about those verses.
Verses 27 and 28 tell us that the Ethiopian eunuch was returning from Jerusalem where he had gone to worship. Understanding the context of that time, however, he would not have been permitted into the temple to worship.
He was a Gentile-- which means that he would have only been allowed into the Court of the Gentiles at the outskirts of the temple. But on top of that, he was a eunuch and the law forbade anyone who was castrated from entering the temple. This man had travelled all the way to Jerusalem to seek God, only to be turned away.
But through this disappointment, God’s marvelous plan begins to unfold. He sends Philip to meet the eunuch on the road to Gaza. The eunuch hears the good news of Jesus Christ and is saved and baptised. God did not come only to save the Jews. He came to extend salvation to the whole world-- this Ethiopian eunuch included.
Later on in the book of Acts, we will see this idea cause some confusion amongst the believers. Is God’s salvation really for everyone? Today we can say with certainty-- yes, it is! God’s salvation is for everyone. In the next chapter, God is going to raise up a “chosen instrument” who will carry the gospel “before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.” God is on a mission to reach everyone. Through Jesus, all have been invited in!
Verse 35 - “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.” What a joy to be used by God! Can we be like Philip-- ready, willing, and obedient to be God’s instrument?
Practice by preaching the gospel to yourself! Take your favourite verse from the Bible and, beginning with that Scripture, practice sharing out loud the good news about Jesus!
More often than we realise, there are people around us who are searching for God. Sometimes these are people that we could never imagine coming to Christ. Can you think of anyone like that? Pray for them today and ask God to meet them.