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Philip and the Ethiopian June 24, 2016

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Acts 8:26-40.

Summary: In this passage, the Lord commanded Philip to go to the desert road connecting Jerusalem and Gaza; there, he met an Ethiopian eunuch who had gone to Jerusalem to worship the Lord. The eunuch had been reading from Isaiah 53:7-8 – though he could not comprehend those verses. Philip explained how those verses actually referenced the Messiah – Jesus of Nazareth. The eunuch responded to this revelation by declaring his belief that Jesus is the Son of God. After Philip baptized him:

  • the eunuch rejoiced at his salvation as he returned to Ethiopia
  • Philip preached the Gospel in the towns between Azotus and Caesarea.

Thoughts: An Ethiopian eunuch is a central figure in this passage. Calvin offers some insights regarding this eunuch in his commentary on verse 27:

Candace was not just the name of one queen. Pliny tells us that the Ethiopians called their queens Candace in the same way that the Romans called their emperors Caesar. Historians report that Ethiopia, whose capital was Meroe, was a noble and wealthy kingdom, and this is relevant to this incident because it tells us how exalted this eunuch was. Secular writers confirm Luke’s account by reporting that women used to reign there.

I certainly anticipate meeting this eunuch in the next life and learning more about him. How did he attain his high position in the kingdom of Ethiopia? How did he come to believe in the God of Israel? How did he acquire a scroll with the words of the prophet Isaiah? Was he able to share the Gospel message after his conversion? Did the Ethiopian monarch tolerate his newfound faith, or did she conduct a purge to remove him from office?

This passage displays God’s providence regarding His salvation plan, as He:

  • spurred Philip to go to the desert road connecting Jerusalem and Gaza
  • enabled Philip to encounter the Ethiopian eunuch on that road
  • had already brought the eunuch to faith in Him as the God of Israel
  • had already furnished the eunuch with a written copy of the words of the prophet Isaiah
  • caused the eunuch to read from the “suffering servant” passage – referencing the Messiah
  • enabled Philip to explain that obscure passage to the eunuch
  • enabled the eunuch to believe in Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God.

After I read this passage, I wished that God would display His providence by working in the hearts and minds of unbelievers who are close to me – especially family members. While this eunuch outwardly pursued God, I find that the unbelievers who are close to me are unconcerned with deep philosophical issues, including the purpose of their existence. This is quite frustrating, and I often grow discouraged when I pray for them. Perhaps this passage should spur me to renew my 1) trust in God’s sovereignty regarding salvation and 2) commitment to the Great Commission – since my free will shapes my response to His calling.

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Comments»

1. zzzisle - June 24, 2016

interesting.

my thoughts on this same passage. i was more keen about his baptism.

https://zzzisle.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/philip-and-the-ethiopian-eunuch/


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