The Ethiopian Eunuch
The Kingdom of God continues to expand to include the Ethiopian Eunuch a wealthy, foreign, unclean, outside-the-sexual-norms person. Yet none of these “qualifiers” keep him (nor should they keep anyone else) from being baptized.
Acts of the Apostles 8: 9-40
26 Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Get up and go towards the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a wilderness road.) 27 So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over to this chariot and join it.’ 30 So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ 31 He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32 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.
33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.’
34 The eunuch asked Philip, ‘About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’ 35 Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36 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?’ 38 He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org
Last week we heard of Philip’s ministry among the Samaritans. What is the connection between the story of Simon and this story?
Look at the Isaiah passage the eunuch was reading (Isaiah 53:7-8). What do you think he saw in that passage? What do you see in it?
How do you think Philip felt when the eunuch asked him to get into his carriage? Would you have accepted the invitation? Why or why not?
What about the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection do you think appealed to the eunuch?
Why would this story have special meaning for people who identify as LGBTQIA?
What Do you make of the abrupt ending of the story?