Tuesday in the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Acts 8:26-40

The Door Opens Even Wider

Having covered the glorious conversion of the Samaritans to the gospel of Jesus Christ and their reunion with their Jewish brethren through their mutually promised Messiah, and having introduced (and summarily dismissed) the arch-heretic of early Christian literature and history in the person of Simon Magus, Luke now returns to Philip with whom he began this entire episode.  We discover that Philip is quite the evangelist as he travels along, and is constantly moved by the Spirit regarding itinerary, either telling him which way to turn or simply snatching him up and conveying him to the divinely-chosen locale.  On this occasion, an “angel of the Lord” tells him the road to take from Jerusalem southwest to Gaza.  On that road was a chariot carrying a notable person, the chamberlain over the treasure of the queen of the Ethiopians, no mean kingdom of the ancient world.  Then the Spirit of the Lord tells Philip to join himself to that chariot.  When Philip does, he discovers that the man is reading (aloud as was the custom in the ancient world) from the “Suffering Servant” passage of Isaiah 53:7-8, and asks him if he understands what he is reading.  The gentlemen asks for guidance, invites Philip into his chariot, and is soon born again of the Spirit as Philip explains to him how this passage and others refer to Jesus.

So here we have the first Gentile in the Book of Acts to embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, and not just any Gentile but a eunuch.  The Law forbade one whose male organ had been cut off to enter the “assembly of the Lord,” which was referred to the inner courts when the temple replaced the tabernacle (Deuteronomy 23:1).  One must understand that this law had reference to the practice of self-emasculation which accompanied pagan worship in the ancient world.  Still eunuchs were excluded from some aspects of temple worship in Israelite and Jewish religion.  As a Gentile, we must assume that this man was a “God-fearer,” one who worshiped the one true God revealed in the Scriptures but who had not converted to Judaism.  Thus Philip preached the good news indeed to this man who experienced the fulfillment of Isaiah 56:3-5: “Let not the eunuch say, ‘Behold, I am a dry tree.’ For thus says the Lord: ‘To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”  There are so many injustices in the world; being made a eunuch was one of them in the ancient world.  The Christian experiences even now the blessings of the age to come, the fruit of which even the eunuch knows.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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