26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road — the desert road — that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, 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 The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the 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. Why shouldn’t I be 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. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. – Acts 8:26-39
The distance from Etiopia to Jerusalem is 4 108 kilometers according to Google Maps. If you would walk by foot 8 hours a day it would take you close to a 100 days to get there, 3 1/3 months. Now that is commitment. Then it is all the way back as well!!!
Just a little background about the queen of Candace.
“Meroe flourished as the capital of the Kingdom of Kush (Candace) between c. 750 BCE – 350 CE and became legendary as a city of fabulous wealth. Located on the Nile in the region of modern-day Sudan, Meroe grew rich from trade and its ironworks and abundant grain supply ensured a steady production of goods others wanted and needed; but it was the monarchy, periodically controlled by women, that established and maintained the trade which encouraged such affluence.”
Now this guy is the treasurer of Etiopia, like the finance minister of today. He was driving his big bulletproof Mercedes. No I am joking, he was driving his chariot. It must have been a caravan of some sort. Here this guy, Philip all by himself comes and ask a question.
“Do you understand what you are reading?”
It might sound like a stupid question at first.
If you do not know the intracate workings of a car and I have to explain it to you the first time you would be glad as well; if you are stuck in the middle of nowhere with your car and I am busy helping you fix it. Pretty much what is happening here.
“Do you understand what you are reading?” would constitute sitting with some Bible scolars today and having a discussion or reading a few commentaries written by these scholars.
Do you understand the Bible? Have you read commentaries on what does the passage really mean, or do you just shoot from the hip in your ignorance.
If it is that important to you, you would make a thorough study on it.
“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” Wow what a humble response from the Treasurer of Etiopia!
Do you allow people to explain the Bible to you? Are you that humble?
He was reading a prophesy about Jesus in Isaiah that was written 700 BC and he was somewhere +- 40 AD.
This guy had travelled 4108 km to find out about the Jewish faith. It was even important to him to buy a scroll which was very expensive those days, to find out more about it.
So Philip tells him about the good news.
What does the good news entails?
The good news about Jesus entailed that the eunic had to be baptized, because he asked Philip to baptize him.
Being baptized must have been what the Eunic was looking for, because he was happy afterwards.
We know from our previous studies that at baptism, your sins are forgiven and you receive the Holy Spirit. This is where your new life starts, no wonder the eunic was fired up.
Were you fired up after your baptism?
Maybe you did not really understood what happened.
I had to get rebaptised to really believe what happens at baptism.
My question to you is:
“Do you understand what you are reading?”
Prayer for Today:
Lord what a great story about redemption! How one guys life changed because God saw his heart, after he travelled 4000 km to find out what the truth was. May my journey be the same with the same outcome. Amen.
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