Ethiopian Eunuch

Ethiopian Eunuch

Acts 8:27-38
27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.  Who can speak of his descendants?  For his life was taken from the earth.”
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”  38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.   NIV

This is an amazing story of an unnamed man.  He was, literally, a eunuch, a man castrated that he might serve in the royal court.  Now that’s commitment.  Castration was required to serve the royals for a number of reasons (of which I am not going to get into).  Somewhere along the line he heard about the God of Israel, and it piqued his interest in this God.  Consequently he began his spiritual pursuit, and began to explore the scriptures regarding the Israelite God.  He found himself on a spiritual journey that would take him to Jerusalem…the center of Judaism.  To go to Jerusalem from Ethiopia was no easy task; the journey by chariot was at least 1600 miles.  The scriptures only tell us this eunuch was returning from Jerusalem; they do not tell us what happened while he was there.  I do know this…as a eunuch wanting to worship God and to go to the temple, the deck was stacked against him.  But he went anyway.

Undoubtedly he was aware of some of the Old Testament scriptures such as: Deuteronomy 23:1 which says, “He who is emasculated by crushing or mutilation shall not enter the assembly of the Lord.”  Later, Isaiah prophesied that when the Messiah’s kingdom was established, things would change.  He writes this in Isaiah 56:4-5“For thus says the Lord: “To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.””

But the Pharisees did not believe Messiah had yet come.  So that put this eunuch’s pursuit of God in a precarious place, especially in a place like Jerusalem.  He would be unwelcomed and stonewalled at every synagogue.  Still, he continued in his pursuit of the God of Israel, even though it would appear he was excluded.

On the return trip to Ethiopia, he was reading another part from the prophet Isaiah.  Although he could not understand what he was reading, God in His providence and mercy brought Philip across his path to explain its meaning.  In verse 47 we read those beautiful words, “Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.”  The eunuch was so effected by the words Philip spoke, he apparently received Christ as Lord and Savior.  He was saved!  We can discern that since the eunuch was determined to be baptized.  Philip then had the honor of baptizing him.  But the story doesn’t end there.  Ethiopian tradition says that this converted eunuch was the country’s first evangelist.

Let me ask you a question.  Have you ever faced a challenge that was so difficult, or a mountain that was so high that it seemed like you were destined to fail no matter what you do?  Probably all of us can in one way or another.   I know there have been times in my past where I’ve copped the attitude, “Who needs this?  I give up.  This is just a losing proposition.”  Men, that’s the kind of situation the eunuch faced, and even after being told, “You lose,” he continued to pursue.  But that’s when God met with him.  He had a glimpse of something that was too valuable to let go.  And because he wouldn’t, he finally met the Savior.

Proverbs 23:23 says, “Buy truth and do not sell it.”  The truth of God’s Word is too precious to let anyone take it from you (try as they may).  Do not allow persecution, or humiliation, or ridicule, or mistreatment, or suffering to derail you from your pursuit of Christ.  None of those things can negate the truth of God which is founded in heaven.

May you, like the eunuch, continually pursue Christ regardless of the opposition you may face.  Just remember, where the world may say NO, God has a YES stamped on you.

Blessings,
Gene Pietrini

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”
–  Desmond Tutu

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