Scriptures

17. The Ethiopian Treasurer, Quite A Character

Introduction

By Ed Perry

Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they travelled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?’ And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him’. Acts 8:35-38 NIV

Sometimes God puts people in our path or puts us in another person’s path. How we react to these situations can result in great growth for us and for others!

Questions for Discussion

1. Have you ever met a big-time government official? Who was it? What was your reaction to that experience?

2. Read the following

‘Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ So, he started out, and on his way, he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means ‘queen of the Ethiopians’). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’ Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked. ‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?’ So, he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading: ‘He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.’ The eunuch asked Philip, ‘Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?’ Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. As they travelled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?’ And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both 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 suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.’ Acts 8:26-39

a. What were the obstacles that would have prevented an ‘average’ citizen from approaching this important man? Culture? Skin colour? Nationality?

b. What do you normally do during long trips? What was the Ethiopian treasurer’s go-to time killer? What does this say about him? Is there a message here for us?

c. The Holy Spirit told Phillip to go to this man and engage him.

i. How does that look in today’s world/our culture? What are the challenges involved?

ii. Do you think God still tries to move His people to reach out to others? How is that similar or different than what He does in this story?

d. Based on the treasurer’s response, what is included when Phillip ‘began at that same scripture and taught him the good news of Jesus’?

3. This was a transformative day for the eunuch. How can we help ‘curious minds’ have a path to Jesus?

In order to grow spiritually (and to help others grow spiritually) we must be able to abandon preconceptions, be willing to listen to others, and sink ourselves into Scripture.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city."

Acts 18:10

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