Metropolitan United Methodist Church, Indian Head, MD
Acts 8:26-40
May 2, 2021

Acts 8:26-40

May 2, 2021

Acts 8:26-40

Philip and the Ethiopian

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian[a] eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
    and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
    Who can speak of his descendants?
    For his life was taken from the earth.”[b]

34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” [37] [c] 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

 

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Background

Acts combines the narrative of Philip’s urban mission in Samaria with the memorable story of his encounter with an Ethiopian eunuch. As a religious person the Ethiopian symbolizes what the Samaritan Simon is not: He is spiritual pilgrim from a distant land who is earnestly seeking to understand Scripture’s prophecies of God’s salvation. This eunuch shares the same status as the Samaritan, however, for he too is on the margins of mainstream Israel, excluded by law from full participation in the covenant community (see Deut 23:2 LXX; Lev 21:17–21). The unwritten conflict plotted by this story, then, is that this pious proselyte, who seeks to know the God’s purposes more fully, has been excluded from the very religious community whose resources would illumine his quest..[1]

Notes from Point 1

Point 2 

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Point 3

Notes from Point 3

Summary

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[1] Robert W. Wall, “The Acts of the Apostles,” in New Interpreter’s Bible, ed. Leander E. Keck, vol. 10 (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994–2004), 142.

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