Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch
 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place.  And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship  and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah.  And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.”  So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”  And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.  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 before its shearer is silent,
so he opens not his mouth.
 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”
 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?”  Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.  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.  But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea. (ESV)
- The Holy Spirit is on the move.
The interaction between Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch was anything but coincidental. Philip wasn’t building a relationship of trust and respect with the Ethiopian. In fact, there is no indication that any previous interaction had ever taken place. The Spirit was already at work in the Ethiopian’s life. An angel directed Philip to head south. The Holy Spirit directed Philip to join the Eunuch in his chariot. There was no slick strategy to this. All of it was the work of God by the Holy Spirit.
- Jesus and Isaiah.
The Eunuch in this story is reading Isaiah 53, one of the clearest and most beloved Old Testament depictions of Jesus’ atoning death. But the Eunuch is understandably confused. He doesn’t know who the text is speaking about. Through Philip, he comes to understand that the faithful suffering servant of Isaiah is none other than Jesus. Once again, we see how the entire Bible points us to Jesus.
- Supernatural events.
You can’t read this story and walk away without questions. How exactly did Philip encounter the angel in verse 26? And what does it mean that Philip was “carried away, and the Eunuch saw him no more”? The truth is that these are mysteries that should lead us to awe and wonder, not skepticism and doubt. God is able to do anything he wants to do. He is not bound in the ways that we are.
- What can this interaction between Philip and the Eunuch teach us about evangelism and the work of the Holy Spirit?
- Take a moment to read Isaiah 53. What does that text teach us about Jesus?
- How do you respond to incredible stories in the Bible like this that defy any sort of rational explanation?
Call to Worship
Let the Redeemed of the LORD Say So
 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
 and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.
 Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to a city to dwell in;
 hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
 He led them by a straight way
till they reached a city to dwell in.
 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
 For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things. (ESV)
Prayer of Confession
Lord, you have opened your arms to welcome us as your children. You alone can forgive our sin. You alone can mend the scars of our shame. When we were found guilty, the blood of your perfect Son, Jesus, was spilled so that we could be declared innocent. Lord, thank you for your mercy toward us. May we run to no other source of refuge. May we wash in no other fountain. May we receive from no other fullness. Or rest in no other relief than in the cross of Jesus our Savior. Amen.
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources are tools for families to use to help connect Sunday’s sermon to the rest of your week, fostering conversations and habits of worship.