The Eunuch who Encountered the most amazing Rabbi in History

After the crucifixion and resurrection, there was strong persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and followers of The Way were scattered out into Judea. For both the Romans and the Pharisees, the unintended consequence was that believers began sharing the good news wherever they were. In one such instance, Philip encountered a eunuch from Ethiopia who was reading from the OT Scriptures. “The Eunuch was reading this passage (Isaiah 53:7) of Scripture: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth… The Eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.” (Acts 8:32-35, NIV)


At one time it was pretty common for kings’ courts to have a resident eunuch or two. They were men who looked after the royal harem, and they were emasculated so they could look after the king’s harem without being tempted to make advances to them. In many ways a eunuch probably had a pretty good life (got to live in the palace, eat well, hang out with pretty women all day…) but they paid a high price to be the harem’s bodyguard. I would think most eunuchs would have to be somewhat philosophical, because they experienced something terrible for a man, but then had to consider that, well, life is still not so bad after all…

This Ethiopian eunuch was riding along in his chariot, reading the Scriptures, and asked Philip to explain Isaiah’s metaphor about a lamb being led to slaughter. This conversation is really key in understanding something very important about Jesus. If you just take Jesus at face value, and consider only his teachings, he is at the very least an amazingly gifted Rabbi who taught revolutionary things about interpersonal relationships, the Kingdom of heaven, the law, forgiveness, priorities…

The truth of his teaching resonates not only for first century Judea, but also down the corridors of history and into today, and stands brilliantly at odds with all of the “me-first” humans in a selfish world. But consider this: when you look at the Hebrew Scriptures (OT), they provide a lens through which Jesus of Nazareth must be viewed. Peter quoted them in his first sermon; Stephen was stoned to death while expounding upon them; Philip used them to tell the eunuch the good news; Paul logically connected Christ’s work to the Hebrew Scriptures.

In every case these Scriptures create a context that makes it impossible to dismiss Jesus as a mere brilliant Rabbi. He is the one who the Old Testament foretold with detail and accuracy. He was the one about whom Isaiah was speaking, as well as Moses and Micah, and David, and Daniel. You can rightly be impressed with Jesus if you just read some of his teachings; but you’d be rightly amazed if you study even a few of the ways his life and mission were accurately predicted by men who lived hundreds of years before. If you think Jesus was only a good Rabbi who taught good things, think again: The Scriptures said he was coming, and that he would be our Savior. To paraphrase Philip, that’s pretty good news indeed!

The Eunuch in the chariot was reading from Isaiah;
(His life had been adjusted so he couldn’t be a playa),
But when he had an inquiry about Isaiah’s lamb
Philip helped him see that Jesus was the great “I am.”
Jesus was a Rabbi, yes, whose teaching was so bold,
But more than that, he was the one Isaiah had foretold,
And who the Scripture said would come way back in days of old.
Ask the questions. Search the Scripture, and I bet you’ll see
That Jesus was the man the Scriptures and he claimed to be!


To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here:
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here:
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Contemplation Seems Quaint; In a World Where We don’t have Much Time for Contemplation, Contemplate THIS

How important is contemplation these days? Do you ever spend much time just thinking about stuff? Well, Jesus told Philip something that deserves some contemplation: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.” (John 14:10-11 NASB)

Philip asked Jesus for proof: “show us the Father, and it will be enough.” It was a moment like in the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy wanted to go home and the Wizard told her that, really, all she had to do was click the heels of the ruby slippers on her feet and say “There’s no place like home!”, and she’d be back in Kansas! It turned out that she really had everything she needed right there, but she didn’t realize it. By asking Jesus for proof, it seems that Philip was in the same situation; he already had everything he needed right in front of him… But he wanted more.

As you contemplate that, it brings up an interesting question: Do WE ever keep asking for an answer when God has already given us one? Do we ever seek more proof when God has already provided more than enough? Two things here:

1) Jesus performed the works he did (miracles) not because he had magical super powers, but because he was in the Father, abiding in him. He was so intimately connected to God that He did what God would do. It’s another way of describing “walking in the Spirit”. He was uniquely yielded and empowered, and his life reflected the results of having the Father in him. Ours could reflect that as well.

Andrew Murray’s devotional Book, “Abide in Christ” ( offers a 31 day exercise in abiding that teaches how to do just that. Going through it is an enriching exercise that offers an antidote to the hustle and bustle of our “modern” world.

contemplation today

Since contemplation and time alone with God are part of the means to abide in Him, here’s a thought: if I was Satan, I would make contemplation and quiet time a thing of the past. I would fill the hours that were once available for reflection and connection with music, media and busy-ness. I’d provide music 24/7, sound-canceling headphones, 180+ channels on television, plus thousands more on the internet. I’d create fantasy-world games that could distract from real-world possibilities. I would fill time with Pinterest, social media, Twitter, Snapchat, celebrities, and Facebook. I would provide so much mental distraction that there would be no time for contemplation…I’d do that because I know that busy minds will never be intimately connected with the Father.

2) What is keeping you from living by faith, and from doing the kind of works Jesus did? I’m sure Philip thought Jesus was an amazing guy, but he wasn’t completely convinced– and his lack of belief was holding him back from being amazing himself. Jesus said in John 14:12, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” I think we often limit ourselves because we aren’t sold out, and we don’t really believe that Jesus was who he said he was. Put your faith to work, and invest a little quiet contemplation in who Jesus was. Either believe Jesus’ words, or believe his works. Perhaps if you contemplate HIS, it will impact YOURS…

Perhaps you could allow me just a small interrogation:
How often does your day include some quiet contemplation?
Spend some time with Jesus, have some two-way conversation;
Allow yourself to feel the Holy Spirit's inspiration!
Search the Scriptures for him; do a small investigation,
Reflecting on his character and seeking calibration.
Get to know him well enough to do some imitation:
You'll find that Christ in You is a creative combination!

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here:
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here:
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: