4/26/16 The Ethiopian Treasurer Believes

gaza road philip

Philip is resting the next evening, when suddenly an angel appears in front of him.  “Get up, Philip, and go south down the Gaza road towards the desert.”  Philip jumps to his feet and sets out for the road.  When he reaches the desert area, he sees a chariot in the distance.  In the chariot sits a very important Ethiopian eunuch.  This man is the treasurer for Candace, the queen of Ethiopia.  He has just come from worshipping at the Temple in Jerusalem and is now on his way back home.  Philip watches for a moment and realizes the man is reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah.  The Holy Spirit tells Philip to go to the chariot and speak to the man.  Philip runs over to him, then stands next to the chariot and listens to the man reading aloud.  “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asks.  The man’s face falls.  “No,” he answers sadly.  “How can I understand this, unless someone teaches me?”  Philip tells him, “I can help you.”  With a huge smile on his face, the man says, “Come!  Sit here next to me and teach me these wonderful things!”  Philip joins the man in his chariot and says, “Now, show me what you have been reading and I will explain it to you.”  The man shows him the portion of Isaiah chapter 53 that he has been struggling with.  “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a sheep before its shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth.  In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will declare His generation?  For His life is taken from the earth.”  The Ethiopian asks, “Is Isaiah talking about himself or someone else here?”  Philip explains that Isaiah is talking about Jesus in this scripture, specifically about the way He was to die.  He told the man how Jesus willingly went with the soldiers, knowing He was going to His death; that He did not try to defend Himself but was silent before His interrogators.  He spoke of the way Jesus was beaten and mocked, given only a sham of a trial, and finally unjustly sentenced to die on the cross, willingly giving up His life on earth and any pleasure that He might have had here to pay the penalty for the sins of everyone in the whole world and for all of time.  From there, Philip goes on to tell the Ethiopian all about Jesus, explaining everything from His birth to His death and resurrection to his ascension to Heaven before the eyes of the apostles.  He speaks of the formation of the church and how they have been spreading Jesus’ message to everyone they meet, and baptizing all who come to accept Jesus’ sacrifice in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The Ethiopian listens eagerly, absorbing Philip’s words like water for a parched soul.  The chariot has continued on down the road as they have been talking, and the man looks over to see a small body of water by the side of the road.  “Look!  Water!”  he says to Philip, pointing.  “Can I be baptized?”  Philip looks at the man appraisingly and asks, “Do you believe with all your heart that Jesus is the Messiah and has died to save you from the penalty for your sins?”  “I do, sincerely, I do believe that Jesus is the Son of God,” the man replies.    The Ethiopian commands the chariot driver to stop the horses, and he and Philip jump out and enter the water.  Philip baptizes him in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but as the man comes up out of the water, the Holy Spirit takes Philip away.  The man looks all around but doesn’t see Philip anywhere.  Elated, he leaps back onto his chariot and starts for home again.  The spirit has taken Philip to a town called Azotus, where he begins to once again share Jesus’ message with the people, travelling and preaching from there all the way to Caesarea.

 

Acts 8:26-40, http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-c6-fR_rJqxU/T9ANk3K7jbI/AAAAAAAAEC0/DPIWHf7IUhw/s1600/acts+philip.gif

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