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Ethiopian Eunuch

The story is well known:

Philip, an ordinary Christian is miraculously transported to the road where the African royal official of Ethiopia is riding on a chariot from Jerusalem to Gaza - presumably on his way back to Ethiopia. He is reading a scroll - the prophet Isaiah - when Philip catches up with him, and asks if he understands what he is reading. He says that he needs someone to explain to him the meaning.

The Ethiopian asks who this prophet is speaking about and Philip explains that it is Jesus and goes on to explain the Gospel. The Ethiopian, hears and readily converts, and so he asks Philip:

"See here is water. What prevents me from being baptized?"

They went down to the water, and Philip baptises the Ethiopian, and then was immediately whisked away leaving the Ethiopian to go on his way rejoicing. And there is a historical tradition that the official returned to Ethiopia to share the Gospel and Christian Church was established there.

The question he asked was very interesting: What prevents me from being baptised?

Under the Old Covenant, there was a major thing that would have prevented this person being converted and that was the fact that he was a eunuch - literally, a man who had been castrated.

Deuteronomy 23:1

This section has heading in some version of the Bible: Exclusion from the assembly

No one who has been emasculated by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of the Lord.

So far as the Jewish Religion was concerned for this hapless royal official there was a big sign that said

NO ENTRY TO EUNUCHS

Why did God send Philip to preach to him then? Why didn't Philip refuse to baptize him, for by baptizing him, he was welcoming them in the "communion of saints", into the Christian congregation. 

God SENT Philip to the Ethiopian. 

Had God forgotten about Deuternomy 23:1?
Maybe God didn't know that the official was a eunuch?

No, God does not forget His word and He knew, as did Philip, that the man was a Eunuch. 

So, how do we account for this apparent contradiction?

God, being God could have performed a miracle and healed him so that he was no longer a eunuch.

He could have, but He didn't.

So here, right at the beginning of the Church, one significant, and massive barrier to salvation is officially swept away. I say, "officially", because, this barrier along with EVERY OTHER barrier was done away with when Jesus cried out from the Cross - "IT IS FINISHED" and the Temple curtain was torn.

Writing out this in my journal, there was this verse written at the bottom of one of the pages, "As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him." - 1 Samuel 22:31

NO ENTRY TO EUNUCHS
For God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes will not perish but have eternal Life - Jesus

It is not merely incidental that this man was a eunuch and that unlike in this blog where in the beginning I made a point of referring to him as anything but "eunuch" (I was not being coy!) He is referred to almost exclusively as eunuch in the passage. Preachers tend to gloss over the fact that he was a eunuch, as if that had no bearing on the story, but I think that Luke, who wrote this account in the Book of Acts, really wanted to make a point about this fact about this man. 

Today there are many who say you cannot be a Christian and gay, lesbian, bisexual or transexual. 

I want to say that this passage, and the story in Acts 10 of the Apostle Peter going to the house of Cornelius where God shows a vision to Peter and says to him very clearly "Do not call unclean, what God has declared to be clean." I put it to you, that that which barred our way into the congregation of faith previously, will no longer impede our access to the throne of Grace.

Does a homosexual person have to repent of his homosexuality in order to be admitted to the congregation?
Was the eunuch healed? No - neither do you need to be "healed of homosexuality".

I want it to be understood - sexual orientation is not chosen, or taught, - and it is a physical aspect of our being, since whatever the "cause" of our sexual orientation, whether DNA or hormone levels - it is at a fundamental level a physical entity. 

People have been trying to heal homosexuality for many years - but they have completely failed   

Churches used to say that slavery was ordained by God, and people who were enslaved were destined to be slaves by the will of God. Although slavery, sadly still exists in this world, it is officially illegal all over the world and contravenes Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. No church would advocate slavery today.

Churches were once against interracial marriages backing laws that prohibitted people marrying "across the colour bar" - now they go to great lengths to justify interracial marriage. 

Today the issue is same sex marriage and homosexuality - and if the trend continues (which it is doing), this too will as time goes by become a non-issue. I look forward to that time when we can get back to the fundamental message of the Gospel, that God is not a respecter of persons and if you love Jesus, believe that He died for your salvation and rose again on the third day - then there is indeed nothing to prevent you from being baptised.

If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transexual or straight, and want to be a Christian - I want you to know that you, like the eunuch, can know joy of Jesus in your heart and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Please forgive those who try and tell you that you need to change. Don't listen to them - listen to your heart.

When the prophet Samuel came to Jesse's house to anoint the next king, Jesse thought it was one of his older sons and had them all lined up, but God would not let Samuel anoint any of them.God said to Samuel: "The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
He asked Jesse if there was any other son, and only then did Jesse send for David who was shepherding. God told Samuel to anoint David - the little brother. 


Rembrandt's "Baptism of the eunuch"


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