Saturday

“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.” (v. 39)

Acts 8:26-40 Saturday 13 May 2017

Psalm: Psalm 4


Background

I identify with this text. Don't get me wrong, it'snothing to do with the man being a eunuch! It's the way that Philiptreated him. Let me explain.

Philip meets an Ethiopian eunuch who is reading partof Isaiah 53. He asks if the Eunuch understandswhat he is reading. The passage is about a 'suffering servant'.Philip identifies the servant with Jesus. For the Jews at that timehope of an afterlife was invested in your children; not much use toa eunuch!

Philip shared the good news that Jesus acceptedeveryone. To grasp this hope all that was needed was faith. A signof this was to be baptized.

"Look, here is water! What is to prevent me frombeing baptized?" (v. 39) was the immediate response of the eunuch.And what follows? Without further ado, Philip baptizes theeunuch.

Now jump forward a couple of thousand years andpicture a Methodist minister meeting a seeker today. I imagine theconversation: 'In two week's time, we're holding membership classesin the church down the road. If you're around why don't you dropin? Then when you've gone through the course, if the Church Councilagrees, you can become a member'. Philip doesn't seem to befamiliar with church practice and discipline. He simply baptizesthe man.

Some 45 years ago a Methodist minister drank coffee and chattedwith me in my bed-sit. I knew very little about Christianity. Ididn't know much about the church. At the end of our meeting, hesaid he was going to receive me as a member. I am so glad he hadsuch disregard for the rules of our Church. Seven years later Icandidated for ministry. Three years later I was ordained and I amstill grateful that I took that step and he took that risk. Ratherlike that eunuch, I was accepted as I was, on trust that God woulddo the rest. Philip never saw the eunuch again. Gordon, thatminister, only saw me many years later after I was a presbyter. Iam very grateful to him still.

I hope that we can still risk welcoming those whom God invitesto be among us.


To Ponder

  • What do we need to believe to be Christian?
  • How should we treat those who want to join the Church?
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