Today’s WORD (Text) Acts 8:34 - 40
34/ The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35/ Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36/ 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?” 37/ And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” 38/ He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39/ 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.
Spirit-Led Preaching and Baptism. Luke tells of the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the early apostles. Starting in verse 26, the Holy Spirit moved Philip to travel toward the Jericho Road, where he found an Ethiopian eunuch, an official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, traveling by chariot, who was reading from the scroll of Isaiah. The passage told of the injustices suffered by God’s servant, and Philip interpreted the passage as a reference to the suffering of Jesus. Philip interpreted the story of a suffering Messiah as a message of hope and good news in troubled times. The eunuch believed in Jesus not simply because of the reading, but also because of Philip’s interpretation turned proclamation. Philip models for all generations the importance and power of preaching the gospel in such a way as to move others to faith. No matter the injustices they witness and experience in the world, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus testifies for all the ages about the power of God to overcome injustice. Philip’s preaching inspired the eunuch to request baptism. Today, the Holy Spirit is still at work in the world. The Great Commission is still in force. The church of Christ is still empowered and sent by the Spirit to preach Jesus, and to continue spreading the message, and widening the circle of believers to include others as Philip did.
The eunuch was reading a prophetic oracle pertaining to injustice. The apostle interpreted the oracle as good news in such a powerful way that he led the eunuch to his baptism. Name some of the social and political circumstances confronting Christians today that provide distinct opportunities to proclaim Jesus, and to lead others to faith.
Dear Lord, move your disciples today by the power of the Holy Spirit to engage the world outside our church walls. Lead us to engage the travelers of this world wherever we find them on the roadway of life and help us to see the unlimited opportunities to share our faith. Help us to listen to the questions that others are asking, and to locate the answers in the identity and ministry of Christ, in the Name of Jesus, Amen.
The Passionary Intention
Today, I choose to live my life with passion. Today, I intend to follow Christ more nearly, love more dearly and incarnate God’s grace more clearly by asking myself three questions:
- Where will I follow Christ today?
- To whom shall I demonstrate Jesus’ love and justice today?
- How can I play my part in practicing the presence of Christ, right here, right now?
The Passionary Movement Word and Witness devotion is published weekdays (Monday – Friday). Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, Executive Director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies is the author of today’s devotion.
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