Este semnificativ că Biblia nu ne dă numele acestui om și nu știm nici ce a făcut el mai departe. Fără, Filip, fără apostoli, fără frați creștini din Biserică …, dar în mâna Duhului Sfânt!
This court official did not come from what we know today as Ethiopia; his home was in ancient Nubia, located south of Egypt. Since he was a eunuch, he could not become a full Jewish proselyte (Deut. 23:1), but he was permitted to become a “God fearer” or “a proselyte of the gate.” He was concerned enough about his spiritual life to travel over two hundred miles to Jerusalem to worship God, but his heart was still not satisfied.
This Ethiopian represents many people today who are religious, read the Scriptures, and seek the truth, yet do not have saving faith in Jesus Christ. They are sincere, but they are lost! They need someone to show them the way.
As Philip drew near to the chariot, he heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. (It was customary in those days for students to read out loud.) God had already prepared the man’s heart to receive Philip’s witness! If we obey the Lord’s leading, we can be sure that God will go before us and open the way for our witness.
Isaiah 53 was the passage he was reading, the prophecy of God’s Suffering Servant. Isaiah 53 describes our Lord Jesus Christ in His birth (Isa. 53:1–2), life and ministry (Isa. 53:3), substitutionary death (Isa. 53:4–9), and victorious resurrection (Isa. 53:10–12). Isaiah 53:4 should be connected with 1 Peter 2:24; Isaiah 53:7 with Matthew 26:62–63; Isaiah 53:9 with Matthew 27:57–60; and Isaiah 53:12 with Luke 23:34, 37.
The Ethiopian focused on Isaiah 53:7–8, which describes our Lord as the willing Sacrifice for sinners, even to the point of losing His human rights. As Philip explained the verses to him, the Ethiopian began to understand the gospel because the Spirit of God was opening his mind to God’s truth. It is not enough for the lost sinner to desire salvation; he must also understand God’s plan of salvation. It is the heart that understands the Word that eventually bears fruit (Matt. 13:23).
The idea of substitutionary sacrifice is one that is found from the beginning of the Bible to the end. God killed animals so that He might clothe Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:21). He provided a ram to die in the place of Isaac (Gen. 22:13). At Passover, innocent lambs died for the people of Israel (Ex. 12), and the entire Jewish religious system was based on the shedding of blood (Lev. 17, especially v. 11). Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of both the Old Testament types and the prophecies (John 1:29; Rev. 5).
“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). The Ethiopian believed on Jesus Christ and was born again! So real was his experience that he insisted on stopping the caravan and being baptized immediately! He was no “closet Christian”; he wanted everybody to know what the Lord had done for him.
How did he know that believers were supposed to be baptized? Perhaps Philip had included this in his witness to him, or perhaps he had even seen people baptized while he was in Jerusalem. We know that entiles were baptized when they became Jewish proselytes.
Throughout the book of Acts, baptism is an important part of the believer’s commitment to Christ and witness for Christ.
While Acts 8:37 is not found in all the New Testament manuscripts, there is certainly nothing in it that is unbiblical (Rom. 10:9–10). In the days of the early church, converts were not baptized unless they first gave a clear testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ. And keep in mind that the Ethiopian was speaking not only to Philip but also to those in the caravan who were near his chariot. He was an important man, and you can be sure that his attendants were paying close attention.
Philip was caught away to minister elsewhere (compare 1 Kings 18:12), but the treasurer “went on his way rejoicing” (see Acts 8:8). God did not permit Philip to do the necessary discipling of this new believer, but surely He provided for it when the man arrived home. Even though he was a eunuch, the Ethiopian was accepted by God (see Isa. 56:3–5)!
Philip ended up at Azotus, about twenty miles from Gaza, and then made his way to Caesarea, a journey of about sixty miles. Like Peter and John, Philip “preached his way home” (Acts 8:25) as he told others about the Savior. Twenty years later, we find Philip living in Caesarea and still serving God as an evangelist (Acts 21:8ff.).
As you trace the expansion of the gospel during this transition period (Acts 2—10), you see how the Holy Spirit reaches out to the whole world. In Acts 8, the Ethiopian who was converted was a descendant of Ham (Gen. 10:6, where “Cush” refers to Ethiopia). In Acts 9, Saul of Tarsus will be saved, a Jew and therefore a descendant of Shem (Gen. 10:21ff.). In Acts 10, the Gentiles find Christ, and they are the descendants of Japheth (Gen. 10:2–5). The whole world was peopled by Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Gen. 10:1), and God wants the whole world—all of their descendants—to hear the message of the gospel (Matt. 28:18–20; Mark 16:15).
In October 1857, J. Hudson Taylor began to minister in Ningpo, China, and he led a Mr. Nyi to Christ. The man was overjoyed and wanted to share his faith with others.
“How long have you had the good tidings in England?” Mr. Nyi asked Hudson Taylor one day. Taylor acknowledged that England had known the gospel for many centuries.
“My father died seeking the truth,” said Mr. Nyi. “Why didn’t you come sooner?”
Taylor had no answer to that penetrating question. How long have you known the gospel? How far have you shared it personally?