The teacher, Warren Gage, was talking about the account in Acts 8 when Phillip, in the middle of a major revival, is led by an angel of the Lord out to the wilderness, a desert road, to essentially preach the gospel to one man, an Ethiopian eunuch. I have heard this story before. You may have too. But the details that he gave next were so telling and so powerful.
I can’t stop thinking about it.
For starters, the Eunich was saved along a road. But he is not the only one to be saved along a road.
There were two others. Saul on the road to Damascus, and Cornelius at Caesarea. God was making a point to send out His gospel message into the whole world through these three men.
How do these three men connect to the whole human race? Well remember that Noah had three sons: Ham, Shem, and Japheth from whom would descend all of humanity. Now when you look at these three men a little bit more closely you see that the Ethiopian eunuch was a descendant of Ham, Saul was a descendant of Shem, and Cornelius was a descendant of Japheth. Sit on that for a minute. Our sovereign Lord is so deliberate and intentional. This was such a neat discovery for me.
So let’s get back to the eunuch. While riding home to Ethiopia in a chariot, he was reading Isaiah 53 from the ancient scrolls. But he didn’t understand it. Enter Phillip. Being sent by an angel to be at this place at the exact right time, Phillip hopped up in the chariot to explain it to him.
This is what he was reading:
“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter:
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He does not open His mouth.
In humiliation his judgment was taken away:
Who will relate his generation?
For his life is removed from the earth.”
“The eunuch answered Phillip and said, “Please tell me of whom does this prophet
say this?” …..Then, beginning from this scripture Phillip preached Jesus to him!”
Ok, I could just about go have church now. I just love those words.
“From this scripture Phillip preached Jesus to him”!
So Phillip tells us and the eunuch who it was written about, but the question remains, who do you think it was written to? (I know I just ended two sentences with prepositions. It’s going to be ok.)
I think you know what I think, but let’s keep going because that is not even the best part!
Upon hearing the gospel, the Ethiopian Eunuch believed with all of his heart, confessed Jesus as the Son of God, and was baptized. Then, in an instant, Phillip was snatched away. Gone. Just like that. Some kind of star trek number. But Luke, the writer of Acts continues on to tell us that the Eunuch “went on his way rejoicing.”
Dr. Warren Gage encouraged us to think about how Luke knew that information. It would have happened after Phillip was gone, so how did Luke find out that the eunuch went on his way rejoicing? It could be, he suggested, one of three possibilities. One would be that Luke knew that amazing feeling that comes over you after giving your life to Jesus. Luke could have just assumed that the eunuch was bound to be rejoicing. Another possibility would be that the Holy Spirit simply revealed to Luke that the eunuch went away rejoicing. But the third possibility Gage presented was an idea I had never thought of before. Most likely, once the eunuch was headed home again, he would pick up reading where he left off. Luke knew that portion of scripture well. He knew what the eunuch was about to read and therefore knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there was going to be some serious hallelujahs coming from that chariot!
But before we look at that portion of scripture, take a minute to think about the eunuch. As a child he was stripped of his manhood. He felt such shame from his youth. He looked different never growing any facial hair. He was a slave to the queen. Although he had prominence in his position, to the onlooker, he was broken. He would never have offspring. He was barren. He was not allowed in the temple because of this. But now. Now he was made whole in Christ Jesus. So what did that mean? The rest of Isaiah 53 continues to describe the pain and suffering that Jesus endured, but then comes Isaiah 54. Look at what he read next:
You who have not borne!
Break forth into singing, and cry aloud,
You who have not labored with child!
For more are the children of the desolate
Than the children of the married woman,” says the Lord.
2 “Enlarge the place of your tent,
And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings;
Do not spare;
Lengthen your cords,
And strengthen your stakes.
3 For you shall expand to the right and to the left,
And your descendants will inherit the nations,
And make the desolate cities inhabited.
Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame;
For you will forget the shame of your youth,
“Enlarge your tents” means “get ready, you are going to need a big house for all of your descendants!”
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
And it shall be to the Lord for a name,
For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
Who has joined himself to the Lord
“The Lord has utterly separated me from His people”;
Nor let the EUNUCH say,
“Here I am, a dry tree.”
4 For thus says the Lord:
“To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths,
And choose what pleases Me,
And hold fast My covenant,
5 Even to them I will give in My house
And within My walls a place and a name
Better than that of sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
You better believe that he went away rejoicing! A man not allowed in the temple, with no hope of any descendants, now reads these amazing promises that seem to be written just for him!
And whatever became of this eunuch?
Well historical records indicate that this man, who could bear no earthly children,became the father of the Coptic Christian nation in Africa that is still around today. He is the spiritual father to millions and millions. Wow!
Yet the question remains: to whom was Isaiah written? I think that Luke knew the answer to that question.
And the eunuch knew. And my husband knows too. You see, my husband took that same passage, that was read by a Eunuch 2000 years ago and read it to an unsuspecting Jewish man the other day without telling him where it was located. After reading the whole chapter that describes prophetically the life of our Savior in such detail, he asked the man, “Who do you think that passage was talking about?”
The man answered without hesitation,“Jesus, of course.”
Needless to say the room got very quiet when Paul then let him know that those words that so clearly describe Jesus, were written as a prophecy in his own Hebrew scriptures.
Those scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit of God and have unbelievable power. They can tell a historical account, minister to the eunuch of a great African queen, and speak to the heart of a man still today all while pointing to Jesus Christ. They are for you and me, and anyone with ears to hear. I pray that we would believe this so completely that we would share it with everyone that we meet, knowing that the power of the gospel is on every page. God’s Word changes lives, so let us read it, study it, and share it today. Amen!