A Eunuch Circumstance for Sharing Good News

Sorry about that title.

Honestly, I was just stumped. We’re going to be reading an account that includes a eunuch in our passage this Sunday, as we explore Acts 8:26-40.

We read about Philip last week as he took the gospel north to the region of Samaria. As we pick up the story we find that while this big evangelistic effort is going forward in Samaria, God has another plan for Philip’s ministry.

In this account we find the Holy Spirit directing Phil to head south, but without any real instruction as to why. Have you ever felt led to do something that seemed unusual at the time, but unfolded as being an important move in some way? How easy or hard is it for you to follow those inward nudges of the Holy Spirit to change your immediate course or do something for reasons that aren’t very apparent? How can we be more open to those types of Spirit-inspired events?

Phil is directed towards the limo of an Ethiopian court official, who is described as being a eunuch.  The Ethiopian was returning from worshiping in Jerusalem, making him either a “God-fearer”, a gentile who had taken an interest in the Jewish faith; or a gentile proselyte who had converted to Judaism; or one of the Ethiopian Jews of the Beta Israel community. He’s reading the scroll of Isaiah – so no matter what his connection to Judaism, he is a seeker.

The thing is, as a eunuch, he would not have been allowed into the temple to worship and would have been excluded from the larger community of faith. I wonder if he knew that before going to Jerusalem to worship?

Lets think about this guy. He’s an outsider racially as an Ethiopian. He’s an outsider physically because of the condition of his genitalia – he doesn’t fit the model of created order for males. He’s an officiant in a pagan culture. He may have wealth and position…but from the religious perspective he is sequestered in the margins. He is an outsider.

God told Phil to leave the exciting work of leading all those Samaritans to Jesus in order to go find this one man…one outsider.

What can we learn about advancing the kingdom of God from Philip’s experience? In what ways will we need to look past the outsider status of people in our world to share the hope of Christ with them?

How did Philip begin his interaction with this man? What can we learn from that?

When the Ethiopian saw some water, he asked what prevented him from being baptized? Depending on what translation you read, Philip either said “simply believe on Jesus with all that you are”….or he said nothing, just jumped in the water with him. What can that teach us about how willing we should be to include others in the family of God?

It will be a challenging yet encouraging study this week. Hope to see you there!

 

One thought on “A Eunuch Circumstance for Sharing Good News

  1. Lol! Awesome title..Honestly, sometimes it seems hard to discern if certain leadings are Holy Spirit or self or maybe something else. I suppose the answer is in the outcome. I hesitate to tell this but here goes.. One time I woke up with an OLD Christmas jingle from sears going over and over in my head. (it wasn’t Christmas) It wouldn’t go away and I wondered if maybe I was supposed to go to sears and help someone or tell someone about Jesus. I prayed about it and really didn’t get an answer (maybe that was the answer) either way, I didn’t go right away but ended up there before the day was over…unfortunately there was no Eunuch experience to report and I hate to shop so it was a wasted trip. Other times though I have followed promptings maybe to call someone or do something else that seemed helpful to another. I suppose the key is to stay open, pray and trust the Lord to use us as He will, even if we make a few unfruitful trips to the mall! Maybe discernment comes with experience, nothing ventured, nothing gained?
    I love that God had Philip leave the many to save the one. It’s reminiscent of the parable of the shepherd who left the 99 to go after the one who went astray. The ground is level at the foot of the cross, we are all equally important to our Father…God seems to have a thing for the misfits and the marginalized. In fact, it seems the further outside someone is the greater effort God makes to reach them. Philip ran to join himself to the outsider. He didn’t question, cringe, or complain and life was born!!! Let’s be quick to embrace the excluded and trust Jesus to birth that same Life in them!!!

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