"He Went On His Way Rejoicing"
Written by Jay Yeager
Thursday, 12 February 2009 03:11


(Acts 8:39)

The account of the Ethiopia eunuch ought to be of interest to all men and women everywhere, for it clarifies how one does, and does not, become a Christian. First, let’s observe some things that are revealed about the man.

He was a man from Ethiopia with great authority, a treasurer under Queen Candace, and he had charge of all her treasure (Acts 8:27). Surely he was a man of high integrity and honesty. This moral man had been up to Jerusalem to worship. Obviously he was either a Jew or a proselyte under the Jewish dispensation. His commitment to God is evident due to the fact that Ethiopia was a trip of about 1,000 miles. Surely his devotion ought to inspire us all and make those of us ashamed who consider a five-mile trip too far to attend the worship services of God Almighty.

Notwithstanding his honesty and sincerity, this man was lost, for he worshipped God under the Mosaic system which had been abolished at the cross of Calvary (Colossians 2:14; Ephesians 2:12-16). God, however, was interested in this man’s salvation and steps were taken to bring the eunuch in contact with a preacher of the gospel. Please observe just how the matter was done.

God sent an angel (Acts 8:26), not to the man to be converted, but to Phillip who was in Samaria preaching the gospel (Acts 8:5-12). May I ask why? Surely the angel could just as easily have gone to the eunuch as he did to Philip 36 miles away in Samaria. Well, here is the answer.

From the moment Christ placed the conditions of reconciliation into the hands of faithful men (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; II Corinthians 5:18-20), until this very hour, there has never been one person converted to Christ in the absence of God’s power to save, the gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16). I know there are people who would deny the truth of that statement based upon some alleged personal experience. Nevertheless, there is not a man alive who can destroy that principle, nor do I fear any contradiction from God’s word, for try as one might, there is not a single case where anyone ever became a Christian without hearing, believing and obeying the gospel of Christ.

God’s angel instructs Philip to “go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza” (Acts 8:26). Just as Philip arrives at his destination there is the chariot before him with the eunuch sitting and reading from the prophet Isaiah. The Holy Spirit, likewise interested in the conversion of this man, does precisely as did the angel and goes to the preacher (not the sinner) and directs him to “go near, and join thyself to this chariot” (Acts 8:29).

Philip, as he ran to the chariot, heard the eunuch reading aloud from Isaiah 53:7-8, “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: in his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? For his life is taken from the earth” (Acts 8:32-33). And Philip said, “Understand thou what thou readest” (Acts 8:30)? With a humility one cannot help but admire, the eunuch said, “How can I, except some man should guide me” (Acts 8:31)? “Then Philip opened, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35). Notice, please, the results of preaching Jesus.

As they came to a certain water the eunuch said, “See, here is water; what doeth hinder me to be baptized” (Acts 8:36)? Beloved, how did the eunuch know to raise such a question? The only sensible answer is that Philip preached unto him Jesus! Friends, you simply cannot preach Jesus without preaching baptism. The inspired men of the first century as they went preaching Jesus, made absolutely no attempt to exclude baptism, for every single case of conversion recorded in the New Testament included baptism:

  1. Then Peter said unto them, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

  1. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women” (Acts 8:12).

  1. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, if ye have judged me faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there” (Acts 16:15).

  1. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway” (Acts 16:33).

  1. And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized” (Acts 18:8).

  1. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5).

  1. And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

Why is there such a strong emphasis upon baptism? Because one cannot be in Christ without being baptized into him:

  1. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection” (Romans 6:3-5).

  1. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).

How did Philip respond to the question, “See here is water what doeth hinder me to be baptized?”And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, and Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:37-39).

Friends, would you be a Christian? God has given us an example that you and I might know how to have the same kind of joy the eunuch experienced. Would you know that joy?