Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. (Acts 8:35-39)
He had traveled a great distance to worship in Jerusalem. As a devout follower of Jehovah God the man from Ethiopia was diligently reading the prophet Isaiah. The events of the past few weeks must have filled his mind as he began the long journey home. Finding comfort in reading the scroll of Isaiah the eunuch was searching for what the prophet wrote. Looking from above the Lord sent an angel to the evangelist Philip instructing him to join the Ethiopian. Inquiring the meaning of the text the eunuch bid Philip explain the significance of the prophet’s words. Beginning where he was reading Philip preached Jesus to the eunuch.
What a remarkable story that must have been. Isaiah 53 was where it all began. Philip weaved the message of redemption throughout the ancient scrip of God’s word telling the story of the coming Messiah. Opening the eyes of the eunuch to the coming of Christ the King, His teaching and message, horrible death and glorious resurrection. The story of Jesus was told to a man with an honest heart. Somewhere in the story of Jesus Philip did what all early disciples were commanded to do. He showed the Ethiopian that Jesus died, was buried and arose from the grave. As Paul would later describe to the Romans the death, burial and resurrection of Christ was a figure of the salvation found in baptism. The eunuch readily accepted this teaching.
It is important to note the eunuch asked Philip the question. He wanted to know why he could not be baptized. He understood the necessity of such an act. His heart was honest to accept the word of salvation like the three thousand who responded in the city of Jerusalem. Philip was more than eager to fulfill the faith of the Ethiopian and baptized him into water. The evangelist was taken away by the Spirit of the Lord. The man from Ethiopia took the spirit of the Lord with him to his home.
Preaching Jesus is a lot of things. One message that comes from preaching Jesus is the necessity of baptism. The eunuch heard the word of God and believed it. He recognized salvation was not yet full. Inquiring of the evangelist why he could not be baptized shows he understood the cleansing blood of Jesus was found in the water. Preaching Jesus is preaching the blood and preaching the blood is finding it in obedience waters of baptism. Obedience is seen when they go into the water and are immersed for the remission of sins. Rejoicing comes from hearts that are now saved because sins have been washed away.
Faith came by hearing the word of God. Understanding resulted from a study of the story of Jesus. Belief pricked the heart to obey the command found in the story of Jesus. Action produced a man being immersed in water for the forgiveness of sins. Salvation only came when rising from the waters of baptism joy filled the heart. Preaching the story of Jesus. That is salvation.
Life with Christ is an endless hope; life without Christ is a hopeless end. (Author Unknown)