Many know the story of the eunuch who Philip taught in Acts 8. But what is truly beautiful is how, in just a few simple verses, God shows so much. Acts 8:26-39 speaks of the topics of obeying God, seeking the lost, knowledge of the Scriptures, ability to teach, “being always ready”, Jesus’ suffering, the pIan of salvation and joy in Christ. Now, how is it possible to see so much in 14 verses? Well, take a walk with me through the Scriptures and let us see for ourselves.
We begin in verse 26 with an angel speaking to Philip. This angel tells Philip to get up and go to Gaza. What is wonderful to see here is Phillip’s apparent lack of complaining! Philip could have made excuses like: “I just got done teaching Samaritans, can’t I rest a while first?” or “I’m already risking my neck preaching Jesus, can’t I lay low a while?” or “I’ve got too much to do at home, why me?” Philip simply picked up and went without any signs of complaint. What a lesson we all need today! Then in verses 27 to 30 we see Philip’s desire to seek the lost. The angel says to go to the Ethiopian man and what does Philip do? He runs to the man. What a sincere desire to help the lost!
From here we see about four topics discussed in verses 30 to 35! Skipping ahead first to verses 34 and 35 we see about three of those topics. We see Philip’s knowledge of the Scriptures and the ability to teach in verse 35. For Philip began at the very passage of Isaiah 53 to teach the gospel to this man. We also see the Philip is always ready to teach and set the Christian example as I Peter 3:15 exhorts us to do today. Then, looking bac verses 30 to 33, we see Jesus’ suffering. For the Ethiopian eunuch reads from Isaiah 53 about the suffering and humiliation that Jesus would endure on the cross for the sins of all mankind.
It is from there that we see the plan of salvation unfold in verses 36 to 38. “How do we see that,” you ask? It begins in verse 36 with the eunuch asking what is hindering him from being baptized. The man has just heard the Gospel preached by Philip and has come to the conclusion that there is need for baptism. But, he also wants to make sure that before he is baptized that he has met all other requirements. Philip in response, in verse 37, instructs the eunuch that he must believe with all his heart. And it is here that we see the confession of the eunuch that Jesus is the Son of God. So already the man has heard the word (Romans 10:16-17), believed (Mark 16:15-16), and confessed (Matthew 10:32-33). Now, while we see nothing of repentance here, we know from Acts 2:38 that repentance is necessary, and from I Corinthians 4:17 and 2 Timothy 2:2 that the exact same message is preached to all Christians. So we must necessarily conclude that the eunuch did this too. Finally, in verse 38 we see the man being baptized for remission of his sins. For the man went down into the water and was baptized. There can be no doubt that he was immersed. And there can be no doubt of the purpose of baptism from Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16 and other passages.
The last topic we see discussed in this passage is the joy in Christ experienced by the Ethiopian eunuch in verse 39. For after the man followed the plan of salvation, including baptism, he went on his way rejoicing. And certainly there is great joy for all Christians knowing that their sins are forgiven, God is with them at all times as they walk in His ways, and there is true abiding peace. Truly, this is a beautiful passage in all the many lessons we can learn from so few words! I exhort all of you to study this passage carefully whenever you have the opportunity! What an amazing passage from the most amazing book (the Bible) ever!
Article can be found at William L. Schwegler's website SCHWEGLER.US.