“As they traveled down the road, they came to a place where there was some water, and the official said, ‘Here is some water. What is to keep me from being baptized?’ Philip said to him, ‘You may be baptized if you believe with all your heart.’ ‘I do,’ he answered, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’” Acts 8:36-37 (TEV)
Luke’s record of the acts of the Holy Spirit in Acts 8 reveals God’s concern for both the crowds of people in need of Christ in the city of Samaria as well as His concern for an individual foreigner who had come to Jerusalem to worship. He had come all the way from Ethiopia and God would not let him return with as empty a heart as he came. So concerned was God for this one life that He redirected Philip, the evangelist, from a city-wide crusade in Samaria to a desert road where he would meet this man on his way back to Ethiopia. I’ve often wondered if Philip questioned the Lord when he was led by the Holy Spirit to leave a city where masses were responding to the Gospel message and being baptized. It didn’t make sense on the surface but Philip obeyed and went. It wasn’t until he saw the Ethiopian official riding in his chariot that the Holy Spirit said to Philip,
“Go over to that carriage and stay close to it.” Acts 8:29 (TEV)
When Philip did, he heard the man reading from the scroll of Isaiah. Philip asked him if he understood what he was reading.
“The official replied, ‘How can I understand unless someone explains it to me?’ And he invited Philip to climb up and sit in the carriage with him.” Acts 8:31 (TEV)
Philip recognized the opportunity as a Divine Appointment and began with those very scriptures to explain the Good News about Jesus to him.
Not only did the Ethiopian official open his heart to Christ but he asked Philip if he could be baptized. In verses 36 and 37, Luke records the story,
“As they traveled down the road, they came to a place where there was some water, and the official said, ‘Here is some water. What is to keep me from being baptized?’ Philip said to him, ‘You may be baptized if you believe with all your heart.’ ‘I do,’ he answered, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’”
Do you? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? When the Ethiopian put his faith in Christ, he was quick to take the first step of obedience in being baptized. He didn’t even wait for Philip to ask him. He wanted to identify personally with the Savior that had died for him and rose again!
Being a government official for the Queen of Ethiopia it’s likely that he was traveling with a caravan of servants. He was not ashamed of his new found faith. Luke says,
“The official ordered the carriage to stop, and both Philip and the official went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.” Acts 8:38 (TEV)
Baptism is a beautiful expression on the outside that illustrates what God has done in the heart when He cleanses us from all sin. It’s a public profession of our faith in Jesus. When the Ethiopian was baptized that day in front of his own caravan of people, he was saying I’m not ashamed of Jesus. Jesus said,
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32-33 (NKJV)
Faith is a personal commitment. God’s concern for the world is expressed in each individual life. He seeks a personal relationship with you. Have you committed your life to Him? You can today. Then, like the masses in Samaria and the Ethiopian on that desert road, take the next step and follow Christ in baptism. On June 25th and 26th, we are celebrating Super Summer Baptism 2 at all of our Woodlands Church campuses. We’d love to have you join us!