"In today’s reading, in Acts chapter 8 verses 26 to 40 Philip shares the gospel with an Ethiopian Eunuch. Philip began explaining the meaning of the Scriptures at the point where the Eunuch was. From there, Philip opened up the Word of God in such a way that that the Eunuch was able to accept the Good News about Jesus Christ. The Eunuch was so moved by what he heard that he acted upon the revelation he received and was baptized." (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)
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. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth."This Ethiopian official studied Scripture and worshiped God. He had his own scrolls of the Scripture and he was reading from Isaiah (Isaiah 53:7,8), a prophet, but he had questions. He didn't understand some of the things he read. What did Philip share from the Scripture with this man that he desired to be baptized with water?
The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?" Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
Perhaps Philip began by asking him if he had ever heard of a man who died in Jerusalem just a year or so ago. Since the Ethiopian man had just been there to worship perhaps he had heard some talk of a man that was crucified and some were calling him the Messiah. The Bible does not say specifically what these men talked about. It only tells us Philip referred to the scripture. At this point in history it would have been what we call the Old Testament. So Philip could have shown him all the places in Scripture that references the Messiah and what would happen to this Messiah.
He probably pointed to the prophet Micah (Micah 5:2) which indicated that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. He might have then pointed out that this man Jesus he told him about was born there. Maybe he then pointed to where the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 7:14) said that the Messiah would be a son born of a women who was a virgin. Philip might have told him that just thirty some years ago Jesus was born of a women by the name of Mary who was a virgin. In the book of Judges (Judges 13:5) we are told that the child will be a Nazarite unto God. Jesus lived in a city called Nazareth.
Perhaps Philip went on to show the Ethiopian man that the scriptures tell us that the Messiah would be preceded by someone who would tell everyone to turn back to God, the Messiah is coming. He could again point to the prophets Malachi (Malachi 3:1) and Isaiah (Isaiah 40:3-5) in the scripture this man was reading. Philip could then tell him about John the Baptist who prepared the way for this man named Jesus.
Philip might have shown him in this same section of the scroll he was reading that it says that the Messiah would be rejected, despised, and looked down on by many people (Isaiah 53:3). Jesus was hated and rejected by many in his own community and most of the religious leaders in Jerusalem.
The scripture in Zechariah (Zechariah 9:9) foretells that the Messiah King would enter Jerusalem riding a donkey. Philip could tell him about the day not to long ago when Jesus entering Jerusalem riding a donkey as many were shouting "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!"
Philip might of gone on to shown the Ethiopian man many more things in the Scripture that foretold of everything that happened to Jesus like he was accused by false witnesses (Psalms 27:12, 35:11) and as the Ethiopian man had already read he was silent to the accusations. (Isaiah 53:7)
His beard was pulled out and he was spat on and struck. (Isaiah 50:6)
Soldiers divided his garments and gambled for his clothing. (Psalm 22:18)
He was crucified - nailed through his hands and feet to a cross. (Zechariah 12:10, Psalm 22:16)
He was crucified with criminals on both sides of him.(Isaiah 53:12)
He agonized in thirst (Psalm 22:15) and hunger while on the cross and was given poisoned food and vinegar to drink. (Psalm 69:21)
None of his bones were broken. (Psalm 34:20)
His side was pierced. (Zechariah 12:10)
He was deserted by God. (Psalm 22:1)
He was buried with the rich. (Isaiah 53:9)
He was deserted by his followers. (Zechariah 13:7)
Philip probably pointed to the Scriptures that foretold that the Messiah would be resurrected (Hosea 6:2, Psalms 16:10, 49:15) rise to heaven (Psalms 68:18, 24:3), and sit down at the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1). This man Jesus who has fulfilled all of these prophesies spelled out in the Scripture we just read also came back from the dead. Yes, he came out of his own tomb. His apostles, the guys who hung out with him, saw these incredible thing first hand, and have told me about them! Others have seen the same things. He spoke to them over the course of 40 days after coming back to life. They witnessed all of this. Jesus was resurrected. He came back to life! He rose up to heaven right before their eyes. They are witnesses of these things and have told me about this resurrection. It is amazing! This man Jesus who was killed by the authorities just a year or so ago is the fulfillment of the scripture written hundreds of years ago, the very scripture from God you are reading right now in this chariot on this desert road.
I am working through the E100 Bible Reading Challenge again. You can learn more about my journey and read the other posts completed so far at this link. I encourage you to stop back soon to read another passage.
Please share your own thoughts on this passage in the comment section below or on the Facebook page.
Dead Sea Scrolls:
A scroll of Isaiah was found in the Dead Sea Caves in 1947 and it is dated at around 200 BC. This is the oldest copy of the book of Isaiah known to exist. You can get pretty good view online of the Great Isaiah Scroll at The Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
More about the scrolls: