...And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. – Acts 8:36-39 (ESV)
This is an incredible story.
Here’s the gist: Philip, a disciple of Jesus, was preaching in Samaria. People were believing in Jesus left and right and there was joy abounding in the city. Then an angel came to Philip and told him to head south on a desert road. Philip didn’t ask why; he just obeyed. He trusted that God’s plans were better than his plans, even though he couldn’t see what the future held.
On this road, Philip came across an Ethiopian eunuch (a trusted servant of the royal household), and the Spirit of the Lord told him to head over to his chariot. Once again, Philip obeyed and as he approached, he began to overhear the eunuch reading from the Book of Isaiah. Nothing like a divine opportunity, right?
Philip went on to explain the Gospel of Jesus Christ to this eunuch, and he believed.
Like many other accounts of new believers in Scripture, the next response from the eunuch was, “What prevents me from being baptized?”
This Sunday at The Bridge, we have the privilege and joy of celebrating some of our brothers and sisters in Christ who have decided, like the eunuch and like Jesus Himself, to be baptized.
Our prayer is that those who are baptized will “go on their way rejoicing,” and that we, as the body of Christ, will rejoice with them!
As we reflect on this story, do you identify with Philip or with the eunuch?
Like Philip, is there a direction you’re supposed to walk in, or a chariot you’re supposed to approach? Are you willing to obey, even if you don’t know the specific outcome? Tradition says that God used the eunuch to take the Gospel to Ethiopia, an unreached nation at the time. God used Philip’s obedience to head south into the desert to reach an entire nation. How is He asking you to obey today?
Or are you the eunuch? Have you believed in Jesus as your Savior and Redeemer and turned from sin? If so, like the eunuch, you might ask, “What prevents me from being baptized?”
Father, thank you for being a God who sends us on our way rejoicing. May we follow in the steps of Philip and this Ethiopian eunuch and have hearts that are obedient to you. May we truly believe that your plans are better than our best laid plans. May we be people who speak and live the Gospel in a way that leads others to you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
If you have questions about baptism, please reply to this email. We’d love to listen to your story and explain why and how we baptize at The Bridge.
See you Sunday!