Text: Acts 8:26-38 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch
26 Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south[a] to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) 27 So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” 30 So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32 Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:
“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and like a lamb silent before its shearer,
so he does not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36 As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?”[b] 38 He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip[c] baptized him.
Reflection: This passage is really cool to research! The Ethiopian eunuch is not given a name but is described throughout the passage with enough detail that I’m sure somebody could make a Black Panther spin-off movie about him. He is African, wealthy, well educated, has a very prestigious job, and has enough vacation time to travel from Ethiopia to Jerusalem by chariot to worship (over 2,000 mile). The passage also says that he is a eunuch, which wouldn’t have been abnormal for a prominent man who was serving a country ruled by a warrior queen. Being a eunuch would cause him to have lower testosterone levels, a higher voice, and no facial hair. The fact that Phillip is directed to the eunuch, reads and rides with him, explains Jesus to him and then baptizes him, shows that the story of Jesus is for all people.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for stories that show that you aren’t just reserved for the Israelites from the Old Testament. Amen.
Focus for the Day: God for All
Author: Rachel Dudley, Director of Children’s Ministry