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Ethiopian Eunuch Baptized

ArticleMay 2, 2017Acts 8:26-39

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    A prominent Eunuch in service to Candace, Queen of Ethiopia, marred by his entrance into this world, is leaving Jerusalem after traveling there to worship the God of the Hebrews. On his way back home, reading words from Isaiah about a rejected and outcast Messiah, he struggles to understand what Isaiah is saying. In a divinely inspired meeting, he encounters Philip and the Eunuch's eyes are opened to Jesus and the Good News that everyone has a place in God's family no matter their level of outcast-ness. Together, they find the life giving waters of Jesus in a desert that day as the Eunuch follows Jesus in baptism.

    Retelling from Acts 8:26-39 (Luke 24:44-47)

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    There's another side to this story. It's the story behind Philips call to meet the Eunuch. God calls Philip away from all the action. Movement on the ground is in Jerusalem and God is sending Philip to the middle of the barren wilderness? What sort of ministry could possibly be out there? Perhaps the most important ministry there could be. Jesus tells his disciples that they'll be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. The Eunuch was from the ends of the earth as far as anyone knew at that time and Philip had the privilege of sharing the Gospel with him. Today there's still a strong Gospel presence in Ethiopia. Little did Philip know that when God called him away from all the action, into the middle of the desert, that God would use it to change the nations.

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    What's the through line of this story? A prominent Ethiopian Eunuch, a man marred physically and socially, finds himself accepted into God's family through Jesus.

    Where is the Good News in this story? There is a place for all of us in God's family regardless of how others think of us or what others subject us to because that's the very nature of Christ.

    Setting The desert road that leads from Jerusalem to Gaza.

    Characters Philip, one of the men chosen to help distribute food to widows. An Ethiopian Eunuch, a high official under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians

    Conflict The Ethiopian Eunuch doesn't understand the passage from Isaiah that he's reading. Was he reading this passage because he identified with humiliation and denied justice or the notion that his life had been taken from him?

    Resolution Philip uses this as an opportunity to explain how Isaiah is prophesying about Jesus and proceeds to share with the Ethiopian Eunuch the Good News about Jesus. This results in the Ethiopian following Jesus in baptism, somehow they found water along a desert road. I can't help but think of the phrase, Finding water in the desert and how much more so it is in this story.

    Reflections Was living a Eunuch life metaphorically like living a desert life? Did the Ethiopian Eunuch identify with humiliation and justice being denied to him like Jesus received on the cross? Does my faith in Jesus invite the outcast in?

    Reflections from Acts 8:26-39


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