14 minutes | Dec 6th 2019

047 – Conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch

Baptism of the Eunuch - Rembrandt - Circa 1626 Simon the Sorcerer stands as a classic example of a person who fails to truly convert because of the unrepentant pride and arrogance in his heart. Immediately after we witness the washout of Simon, we discover the determination of the Ethiopian Eunuch. God serves up a picture perfect example of how a humble, hungry heart accepts the word of God and obeys it. These two conversion stories stand in immediate succession and in stark contrast. Here’s what happened. After Philip the Deacon finishes his work in Samaria he is called by an Angel of the Lord and told to head south and find a road which winds through the desert connecting Jerusalem to Gaza. This was a pretty good distance from where he had been working but off he goes in obedience to the angel’s command. Acts 8:26-31 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road–the desert road–that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Why Such Great Detail about One Man? Why do we have so much detail about who this man was, where he was from and what he was doing? For some reason, God thought it important to make sure these tidbits of information made it into the Bible. Sometimes, I think we read a passage of Scripture, like this one, and skim over it far too quickly. When we don’t spend some time contemplating the details, the story becomes fixed or wooden. Ask some questions and the scripture comes alive! Did you notice that the man was not going to Jerusalem, he was leaving? He had been to Jerusalem to worship. Does this mean he is a Jew? Not necessarily! Why did he go? Was it a Passover or some other special feast? Is he alone? Would that be safe? Philip is invited to sit with him. Did you know a chariot had seats? I didn’t. What was the day like? Was it hot? Was it cold? What is the attitude of this man? He is quite powerful. Why would he have a complete stranger join him in his chariot? He must have been impressed with Philip’s knowledge of word of God. He seems to be pretty humble. The point of all this is to say, there is so much more to a story than what we read in our Zondervan. These are real people with real lives which extend quite a distance in both directions: both before and after we glimpse one shining moment God chose for us to see. Let’s use our imaginations and a little logic as we process all of this. There are riches to be found when we dig the mines of scripture. The South Jerusalem Truck Stop Apparently, almost before he even arrives at the desert road (probably just south of Jerusalem) Philip meets this eunuch from Ethiopia. As it turns out, this man is an important official in the Ethiopian government. He is the treasurer to the Queen and is now on his way home from worshiping in Jerusalem. He is in a chariot. It seems likely to me that he was not alone. He was probably part of a larger entourage. Just think about it. It would be unlikely for such and important official to make a long journey alone. This type of journey was a serious undertaking. Considering the individual, this trip was probably well financed. He would have been well supplied both going to Jerusalem and returning home. What about the security of this man. He travelled a long distance with valuable goods. A chariot alone could not hold all the supplies for a trip of this nature. So,
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