Going Deeper 04.28.2021

The first reading for the fifth Sunday of Easter... Acts 8:26-40

Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.” The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 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?” He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 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. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

This is truly an extraordinary story with many elements we may find confusing and/or incredible.  For a commentary that may address some of the questions you may have visit this link: Commentary on Acts 8:26-40 - Working Preacher from Luther Seminary

For our consideration I would point to this part of Philip's dialogue with the Ethiopian eunuch: He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?”‚Äč  As we seek to grow in our understanding of God and His ways, it is important for us to go to the Scriptures, to the written word which reveals to us- and connects us to--the Living Word, Jesus the Christ.  But when we go to the Scriptures, we will often find ourselves confused and filled with questions, in need of someone's help to understand.

Where can we find such help?

First of all, every time we open the Scriptures we do well to ask God to send us His Holy Spirit, so that our minds and hearts and spirits would be opened to receive the truth God desires for us to receive.  Secondly, we are blessed to be alive at a time where there are so many resources to guide us, such as The Bible Project and Rightnow Media.  Thirdly, teaching is a core responsibility of the church.  It is good to gather and learn from and with those who have been gifted and trained to teach the Scriptures.  And finally, while searching on our own is good, searching alongside other searchers is yet another important part of our learning and growing.

In summary, to grow we must seek the Lord through the Word, open to the movement of the Holy Spirit and utilizing all of the resources available.  And this transformative growth takes a lifetime.

Growing with You,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"