Daily Scripture: Acts 8
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[a] 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, 28 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 traveled 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.
What prevents me from being Baptized?
Well… A LOT!
For one thing, the whole story depends on Philip, in his flip flops, running BOOGITY BOOGITY BOOGITY beside a chariot, and hollering, “Hey, whatcha readin?”
And the guy didn’t tell the driver, “Step on it, Murph!”
He STOPPED, and listened to the crazy booger flip flopping beside him–and invited him to ride along!
There was another problem.
For a long time scholars thought this guy probably didn’t exist.
The Ethiopian Jews claim to be from the lost tribes of Israel, with a Jewish history going all the way back to Solomon’s romance with the Queen of Sheba.
The scholars had serious doubts, which they summarized as,
Then in 2015, DNA testing showed their story was probably true.
This traveler was one of the African Jews who made a trip just to be near the temple.
He couldn’t go in.
He was missing his original equipment.
He was excluded by Jewish law.
Scholars wondered–why would someone make that long difficult journey if they couldn’t even go inside?
Turns out that a lot of people who feel excluded just want to feel as close to God as they can get.
That’s still true in 2020.
This was the beginning of the church in Africa.
The Coptic and Ethiopian churches are the oldest established churches IN THE WORLD, and they are both African.
Again, many scholars thought they were middle age converts of the crusades who tried to dress up their history with ancient claims.
After all–they were BLACK! And AFRICAN!
They had to get their faith from Europeans like everyone else–
But over the past 100 years archeology has turned up evidence to show they were correct.
The Christian faith was established in Africa by 50AD.
And it all started with a crazy booger chasing a chariot.
So today as you go out, lace up your flip flops.
God just might need them.
Boogity Boogity Boogity!