Thoughts for the Day

Thursday, 30th April 2020: The Ethiopian Eunuch

Acts Chapter 8 Baptism Isaiah Disciples God Jesus Help

Reading : Verses from the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 8

The Ethiopian  Eunuch

Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, Queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, 'Go over to this chariot and join it.' So Philip ran up to it, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, 'Do you understand what you are reading?' He replied, 'How can I, unless someone guides me?'....

Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he preached to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, 'Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?' He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.

(New Revised Standard Version)


Thoughts

"Well who believes there's a God anyway!" said the man in a loud and provocative voice. At this point do you hide your head, turn your back on the speaker, or deliberately change the subject? Well most of us do one of these things, rather than admit to being a Christian. We British, in particular, find it hard to admit to having faith in God.

In our bible reading today we see Philip, one of Jesus' disciples being guided by the Holy Spirit to speak to an extremely rich and powerful man, in charge of the Queen of Ethiopia's treasury. The man might have been Jewish and he worshiped God, though he doesn't seem to know the scriptures well. Perhaps he has observed what happened over Passover in Jerusalem and has some questions. He certainly would have had servants to protect him, yet Philip approaches him, making the initial contact. "Do you understand what you are reading?" he asks. His courage is rewarded, and after telling him about Jesus, the man wishes to be baptized. Jesus had told His disciples to "go and make disciples of all nations", and Philip had obeyed.

The next time someone you know says something dismissive about Christianity, simply let them know, gently, that you believe in God. Often this firm statement stops them in their tracks, for they actually want to know more. Why deny God after all, if you don't believe in Him? To deny God, you must believe there is a God! Have courage, silently ask God's help, and speak!


Prayer

Lord Jesus,
we are Your disciples,
called to spread the word about God's love to us,
and make more disciples.
Give us the courage to speak when the time is right
so that Your message of love is spread to our world.
Amen.


Follow Up Thoughts

Philip the evangelist who is mentioned in our story from the Acts of the Apostles is often confused with Philip the disciple recruited by Jesus, but they are two different men. Philip the evangelist (sometimes called Philip the Deacon) went to Samaria we are told at a time of persecution. You might like to read what happened there in Acts, Chapter 8.1-5, and later in Acts, Chapter 21.

You might also like to look up the meanings of the following words: Apostle, Disciple, Evangelist.

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