The Ethiopian eunuch was a man of prominence. He was an official in the queen’s court and the kingdom’s treasurer. He was also a very devout man coming hundreds of miles on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. While returning from his pilgrimage he was reading the prophet Isaiah and he came to a passage that he did not understand. The man asked for help and Philip had an opportunity to explain the scripture passage and share the good news of Jesus.
The Bible is difficult to understand. Much of it is foreign to the modern day reader. It was written thousands of years ago in an area of the world that is very different to the one in which we live. Though the teachings of Jesus can be profound and simple his parables contain many layers of truth. Paul’s theological constructs can be confusing, and the apocalyptic writings like something out of science fiction. All of these reasons make the Bible interesting, a treasure to mine and a book of truth to ponder.
We read and study the Bible best when we do it with others. Like the Ethiopian eunuch and Philip we need each other’s help. We draw on the experiences of others and from different perspectives on life. Certainly the Holy Spirit can speak to us individually, but the Holy Spirit can also speak to us when we open our hearts and minds to the scripture as a fellowship of believers. The walk of faith is not a solitary walk. We walk it together.
Now after Peter and John had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, proclaiming the good news to many villages of the Samaritans.
Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) 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 and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside 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 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. 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. 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.