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An Ethiopian Politician

images/Women_at_kotel.jpg

Falasha Women at the kotel, The Wailing Wall, Jerusalem

An Ethiopian Minister Meets The Messiah   ACTS 8:26-40 

We don't know his name, but we know he was The Chancellor of the Exchequer to the Queen of Ethiopia, whose name was Candace. And he must have been a God-fearing Gentile believer in the God of the Jews.

The Ethiopian had been on pilgrimage to Jerusalem to attend one of the three major Jewish festivals and was reading ISAIAH Chapter 53, where God gives Isaiah a prophetic picture of his promised Messiah as a Suffering Servant, who will bear the sins of God's people on himself in order to rectify the disastrous results of human rebellion and will rise again to see the results of his own obedience in the salvation of many from God's judgement because of his substitutionary sacrifice.

"The Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world"
the prophet John had called Jesus centuries after Isaiah's prophecy
(JOHN 1:29 and 1:36) Who is this Person being led like a lamb to the slaughter? the Chancellor is wondering.

A Strange Instruction Leads To A Divine Appointment

Meanwhile in Samaria Philip the evangelist had been given instructions by an angel to go out of the town and take the road to the desert. This must have seemed crazy to Philip because there was a Holy Spirit revival throughout Samaria and whole villages were coming to know Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah.

Philip obeys and encounters the Ethiopian minister's cavalcade on their way back to Ethiopia. The Holy Spirit instructs Philip to approach the minister's chariot. When Philip comes alongside, he asks the Ethiopian what he is reading and if he understands!

"How can I unless someone explains the passage to me?" he replies and invites Philip up into his chariot.

This is the opening for Philip to explain the amazing way in which God has fulfilled the prophecy in ISAIAH 53 which he has just been reading which was written hundreds of years before Jesus. This Suffering Servant, Philip explains, is none other than Jesus Christ who was crucified just outside Jerusalem and rose again two days later to prove his claim to be the Saviour of the world - God's promised Messiah.

The Holy Spirit overwhelms the Ethiopian with the realisation that he has found the Messiah. No need to go on searching in vain by observing religious rituals. All he needs to do is to follow Jesus through the waters of baptism and be filled with the Spirit.

A short while later when they come to a little oasis where there is a pool he asks Philip to baptise him . As he rises out of the water in his newfound life, the Ethiopian discovers that Jesus really is alive and can be experienced by all who call on his name.

Questions

Q1 What part has Scripture played in your coming to know God ?

Q2 How has God spoken to you through his Word?  How did you know it was God?


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