Scripture: Acts 8: Verses 26-35
At this Black History Month the Word of the Lord teaches us about an Ethiopian eunuch, a treasurer and trustee of Queen Candace of powerful Ethiopia.
He was a convert to the Jewish religion and he traveled all the way in a chariot from Ethiopia to Jerusalem to attend the annual Feasts of the Passover and Pentecost to worship the living God.
There is no distinction of race, color, ancestry or standing in God’s house of worship. Believers of every nation, tongue and background worshipped together in the Temple as one body.
While the Ethiopian, a Black man, was returning home at the end of the worship service, by divine providence, the apostle Philip was also walking on the same desert road. Driven by the Holy Spirit, Philip, a footman, put aside color, ethnicity, prejudice, discrimination and his standing in the community to approach a Black man of obvious authority, a treasurer of the mighty kingdom of Ethiopia, a stranger seated in a chariot with a driver and servants reading from the prophet Isaiah and asked him: “Do you understand what you are reading?” The Ethiopian replied: “How can I when there is no one to instruct me?”
The scripture is about the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world. The prophet describes the bad and good qualities of sheep. He informs us that sheep are known for their bad qualities of foolishness and stupidity, particularly for going astray from the shepherd or keeper. They stray away from the fold and from the good pasture and they never return to the fold until they are brought back and locked up by the owner.
The prophet compares men and women in our natural state to that of the foolish sheep. We go astray from God. We are separated from the life of God. We turn away from the rule of God’s Word. We err from the right way and go into crooked paths that lead to destruction. We turn our faces from God and our backs upon Him and look to our own paths that seem right and pleasing to us but lead to death. We never return until the great Shepherd of souls brings us back to the fold.
The prophet also compares the good qualities of a Lamb to Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. God the Father, against whom we have sinned, from whom we have turned and whose justice must be satisfied, God laid on Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, His own Son, the sins of all, which, as it were collected together, made one bundle and burden called “iniquity” and laid it on Christ at the cross.
Christ was ill-treated by His own. He was oppressed and afflicted both in body and mind with lashes and reproaches. He paid the debt and bore the punishment without any dispute or hesitation. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb. He is like a lamb that is harmless, meek, innocent, patient in suffering and willing and ready to be sacrificed and slaughtered in place and stead of His people and for the remission of sin.
The Ethiopian eunuch heard the Word and believed with all his heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He repented , was baptized by Philip and he went on his way rejoicing.