Acts 8:32-38

Throughout the Easter Season, the daily devotions have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church. Today’s writer is Dave Gohlke.

“Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.” The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.” Acts 8:32-38

This story recounted in Acts begins with Philip being commanded by God to go to the road leading from Jerusalem to Gaza.  There Philip encounters an Ethiopian eunuch – a dark skinned, powerful person, essentially the finance minister of Ethiopia, in charge of all the treasure of the queen. He was riding in a chariot and reading from a scripture of Isaiah he had likely purchased in Jerusalem – near the beginning of the long return journey to Ethiopia after having come to Jerusalem to worship in the temple.  As a eunuch, by Jewish law he would have been denied entry to the Temple itself, even after making the ardous journey (likely 2 months or more) from his home country far to the south in Africa. Still, he is pious, reading from scripture and open to learning more about God.

The Old Testament passage the eunuch is reading describes one who is silent, humiliated, denied justice and led to execution.  When the eunuch asks Philip to interpret the scripture, Philip shares “the good news about Jesus,” the lamb who was humiliated, denied justice, and slaughtered, and by whose grace we are gifted with salvation.  Upon hearing the Good News, the eunuch asks to be baptized, and Philip welcomes him into the body of baptized believers.

Who are you in this story?  Are you Philip, called by God to share the Good News, to baptize and welcome new believers into the Church, no matter where they are from, what color their skin is, or what their immigration status is?  Are you the Ethiopian, denied entry to the Temple because of your status?  An outsider, humiliated and denied justice?  Or are you all of these, sometimes hurting, feeling outside the circle, feeling as if we are denied justice, but still always called to be on the lookout for others who are hurting more and with whom we can share the Good News, by treating them as Jesus would, by feeding them, clothing them, or visiting them in prison?

Let us pray: God most holy and high, Jesus humiliated and denied justice, guide us through the Holy Spirit to share the Good News in service to others, and let us be open to receiving the Good News when we are hurting.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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