Gracefully Truthful

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Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Acts 8:26-39

26 An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip: “Get up and go south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is the desert road) 27 So he got up and went. There was an Ethiopian man, a eunuch and high official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to worship in Jerusalem 28 and was sitting in his chariot on his way home, reading the prophet Isaiah aloud.

29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go and join that chariot.”

30 When Philip ran up to it, he heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you’re reading?”

31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone guides me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the Scripture passage he was reading was this:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb is silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. 33 In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who will describe his generation? For his life is taken from the earth.”

34 The eunuch said to Philip, “I ask you, who is the prophet saying this about—himself or someone else?” 35 Philip proceeded to tell him the good news about Jesus, beginning with that Scripture.

36 As they were traveling down the road, they came to some water. The eunuch said, “Look, there’s water. What would keep me from being baptized?” 38 So he ordered the chariot to stop, and both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him any longer but went on his way rejoicing.

The Original Intent

1) What was the significance of the description of the Ethiopian man written in verse 27?

The author of Acts describes the Ethiopian man as “a eunuch and high official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of her entire treasury.” Unless we put ourselves in a first century Biblical context, we may not be able to fully grasp the contrast here.

As a high official of the Ethiopian court, this man likely held considerable wealth, influence, and authority. His role as treasurer also meant he was a trusted official in the court! But, at the same time, he was a eunuch, which would have resulted in being ostracized and excluded from social and religious activities. Professionally, he was a success, but socially, he was pushed aside.

We don’t know how or why, but this man went to Jerusalem to worship and was on his way home, with the scroll of Isaiah. But, no one was there to explain it to him.

The Everyday Application

1) What was the significance of the description of the Ethiopian man written in verse 27?

Have you ever felt like an outsider in a place where everyone else was welcomed or accepted? Every person has an innate longing to be valued and understood for who they are.

When you feel like an outsider or foreigner, there are feelings of being isolated, lonely, anxious, insecure, frustrated, and vulnerable. You don’t need to live in a foreign country to feel like a foreigner. Sometimes, we become outsiders when changes happen that leave us in unfamiliar circumstances. Our solution is to search for ways to remove the discomfort.

  • When you want to be connected with others what do you do?
  • Where do you search for relief when you lack a feeling of belonging?
  • Are these good things? Not so good things?
  • How can the eunuch’s example of turning to Scripture encourage you, even if you don’t understand it in full?

The Original Intent

2) What do verses 29-33 reveal to us about the divine role in the spread of the gospel?

Paul writes in Romans 10:14-15 of the three things that are necessary in order for the gospel to spread. 1) The Lord sends a messenger 2) The messenger proclaims the gospel 3) A person hears and believes the good news!

While Scripture does not record the thoughts of the Ethiopian eunuch, we do know the Lord arranged this meeting between Philip and the eunuch. In verse 26, an angel of the Lord told Philip, “Get up and go south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” Then, in verse 29, the Spirit tells Philip, “Go and join the chariot.”

Did you note that these weren’t suggestions? The Lord didn’t ask Philip what he thought. He commanded, and Philip went.

It’s also not an accident that Philip joined the eunuch as he was reading Isaiah 53. This Old Testament passage prophesied about the suffering, sacrificial death, and eventual exaltation of a righteous servant. That servant, many generations later, would be Jesus.

When the eunuch asks, “I ask you, who is the prophet saying this about—himself or someone else?” in verse 34, what connections do you think he is making with the passage? Keep in mind, the eunuch likely would have been in Jerusalem during the Passover when Jesus was crucified, but didn’t make all the connections to the prophecies pointing to Jesus as the Suffering Servant.

On the heels of celebrating a Jewish feast where many Old Testament texts would have been read, his questions were deeply stirring in his mind. He was hungry for truth, he was asking good questions, and his heart posture was ready to humbly receive truth when it was made plain to him.

The Everyday Application

2) What do verses 29-33 reveal to us about the divine role in the spread of the gospel?

I think Philip must have had a special relationship with the Lord. How do I know? In verse 29, the Spirit tells Philip, “Go and join the chariot.” And. He. Ran! He ran to obey the word of the Lord. He had absolute confidence in who the Lord was asking him to talk to and that the Lord would give him the words to say.

We can have that same confidence. The Lord who arranged the meeting between the eunuch and Philip is still acting in the lives of others to draw them closer to Himself, and He readily uses believers for this work! (1 Timothy 2:1-4) And, the Lord is still arranging divine appointments. (Ephesians 6:19-20)

We should always be ready to share the good news of Jesus with others. (2 Corinthians 5:20) We should also always be ready to grow in our understanding of Scripture. (Colossians 1:28-29)

  • How can we prepare ourselves to be obedient in sharing the gospel?
  • Is the Lord asking you “to go” to someone today?
  • Ask the Lord to cultivate a heart of humility toward His Word and learning His ways.
  • What evidence can you see in your life proving you are “hungry for truth”?

The Original Intent

3) What importance does the Ethiopian eunuch’s baptism hold? (verse 39)

Baptism is a symbol of identifying with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. Through baptism, the eunuch publicly associated himself with Christ and indicated his desire to follow Him. What a significant turning point in His spiritual journey!

The eunuch’s baptism also served as a sign of his acceptance into the community of believers regardless of his ethnicity, social status, or background. It was a challenge to the traditional boundaries of the culture and was a witness that salvation is accessible to all who believe.

The eunuch returned home to his country and his career, but his heart and life were now under a new Lordship, Christ’s. The eunuch had been made new from the inside out and, with his public baptism, he was telling the world and himself, he would walk in the newness of Christ’s life for the rest of his days. (Romans 6:10-11)

The Everyday Application

3) What importance does the Ethiopian eunuch’s baptism hold? (verse 39)

The eunuch’s baptism reminds us of the connectedness we have in the body of Christ despite our diverse backgrounds and experiences. Just as Philip and the eunuch came from different cultural and social contexts but were united in their faith in Christ, baptism serves as a unifying symbol for believers from every nation, tribe, and tongue. (Revelations 5:9-10)

As believers who have already chosen to trust Jesus, confess our sins, be made new in Him, and follow Him in baptism, we are called by the Lord to keep living out our faith boldly in a diverse and broken world. (Romans 6:4)

How do we do this with so many competing priorities? Ultimately, our call is centered on seeking His kingdom and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33) This means aligning our lives with the Lord’s purposes and priorities, living in obedience to His word, and actively participating in bringing His good news to all people!

  • How does your baptism remind you of your place in the body of Christ?
  • What steps can you take this week to align your life with the Lord’s purposes and priorities?
  • Take time to read Romans 6 this week and be challenged and encouraged about the significance of baptism for the true believer in Jesus!
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