"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"The Good News about Jesus"

Acts is a book full of actions of the Spirit of God through Jesus' followers. This is one of my favorite accounts from this wonderful recollection. Notice how the Spirit leads Philip to talk to someone seeking to know more. Notice "the good news about Jesus" and keep in mind "gospel" is simply "good news." And lastly see the Ethiopian's response to his accepting Philip's Spirit-filled teaching.

Chapter 8:26Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." 27So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. 29The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it."

30Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked.

31"How can I," he said, "unless someone explains it to me?" So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32The eunuch was reading this passage 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.
33In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth."

34The eunuch asked Philip, "Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?" 35Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

36As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, "Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?" 38And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.

Oh, that we may all be sensitive to the Spirit leading us to share the good news of Jesus with others so they, too, may go on their ways rejoicing!

So what do you believe is the "good news about Jesus" that Philip told this man?

See all of Isaiah 53 here.


Suroor said...

The good news was that Jesus is the saviour??

I don't know how I missed this post! Thanks for sharing it.

BTW, I read on a Christian site once that Paul was castrated. Is that true? It even went so far to claim that Jesus too was castrated! I thought that was blasphemous since if they believe Jesus to be God how could they claim that he needed castration to stay celibate??!!

Thank you for this post, Susanne and I'm eager to learn what was the good news!

Amber said...

:) I'd say the good news was that Jesus was the Saviour.

So, I know Suroor's question was for you, Susanne, but I poke my nose in anyway...

I've never heard that Paul was castrated. He may have been celibate, but I don't think he mutilated himself. And Jesus was celibate, but again, not a eunuch.

The only reference I can even recall to men being 'eunuchs' for God is in Matthew 19:12:

"For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it."

But, if you go back and read from verse 1, this is where Jesus is teaching about divorce and remarriage, and this verse comes right after He's told the disciples that anyone who divorces for any reason other than infidelity and remarries is committing adultery. And they reply that then it's better not to get married at all....

Hmm...you know, the more I read this, I'm not really sure that they meant what I thought they meant...

But anyway, eunuchs. If I'm remembering right, some did historically castrate themselves in an effort to keep pure, but I think the general consensus is that it just meant celibate, not *actual* castration.

*wanders off to think the thought she just thought*

Achelois said...

Thank you Amber! That is such a relief. I was a bit disturbed after reading that.

I can understand the verse about divorce and adultery. That is something that goes right into my heart because I'm a hardcore polygamy hater :D But I was never able to fully understand Christianity's stance on monogamy since men were generally polygamous in Jesus' time. I will re-read this verse with the rest now. Thank you!

And yes that was the reference I was talking about - Matthew 19:12.I recently wrote a post on eunuchs and that is when I came across that site.

Achelois said...

OK, now I know where I read it - it was a reference to Tertullian saying that Paul was castrated. It is briefly mentioned here also (I can't locate the initial website I saw it on) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eunuch#Religious_castration

Susanne said...

Suroor, yes, based on what the Ethiopian was reading and what Philip knew about Jesus earthly ministry, death and resurrection, I'd say the good news was that Jesus was the one prophesied by Isaiah who would die to take away the sin of the world. Check out Isaiah 53 sometime and see what you think. By the way, the Gospel of Matthew was written for the Jewish people. You'll notice how Jewish Matthew used prophesies from the OT to show his people how Jesus fulfilled these things the prophets foretold. I've been rereading Matthew recently.

I never heard that Paul or Jesus were castrated...hmmm. Oh, I just checked out the link you provided..how interesting. I'd say IF Paul did that for religious purposes, it would be like making a spiritual "statement" if you will. But that's only speculation on my part. Never really heard this discussed in sermons at church or anything. :)

Amber, jump in and answer questions ANY time. You are more than welcome to do so. In fact, I appreciate it when you help me out as I know you are well-read. Plus I just like reading what you have to say. :)

Thanks for what you added about castration. If you have more, please add it - or do your own post and I'll read it there. :)

Suroor, my personal opinion is that God intended monogamy, but permitted polygamy. Monogamy was the ideal whereas polygamy was permitted, but it had its drawbacks which polygamists had to endure. (That whole "you reap what you sow" thing.) I think we see from history how it's not always ideal. There is often jealousy between the women and I don't think most men could treat their wives fairly. Jacob for sure loved Rachel better than Leah and the handmaidens who bore him children.

Ideally though, I believe God wanted one man and one woman committed to loving and serving and honoring one another for life.

What do y'all think? Is this just MY ideal talking and maybe God intended men to marry more than one wife as practiced back then?? Hmmm

Susanne said...

Amber read my mind because she posted something interesting before I even wrote my previous comment to her. It's not totally related to eunuchs, but still it's interesting. For those interested (looking at Suroor), check this out and tell us your opinion of Matthew's verse about marriage.


Alana said...

Jesus was not castrated. He would not have been the "perfect Lamb" that was slain for the sin of the world if he had been. The Old Testament requirement of a physically perfect sacrificial male lamb is both the type/symbol of Christ's sinlessness, but at the same time would point to this reality. In all my years of study (and I have an M.Div.) I have NEVER once come across the suggestion that Jesus Christ was a eunuch.

Additionally, had he been such, he would not have been allowed to read the Scriptures and speak in the Synagogue or Temple, which the gospels record he did time and again. He would NOT have been called Rabbi, but would rather have been cut off from the community of Israel.

Susanne said...

Alana, welcome to the blog and thank you for what you contributed to this discussion. Makes lots of sense! :)