Last Night's Conversation

posted by Jeffrey on Monday, August 08, 2005 at 8:24 AM

*I've moved, and my posts have come with me! Check out my new blog at*

What a beautiful evening! Sitting outside in the cool of the evening as the gentle breeze blows across the patio and rustles the leaves overhead seems to bring special and unexplainable treasures to our conversation. As in the ancient days past, it makes God's presence "feel" more real, more tangible. Anyway, another sound that was quite frequently heard last night was laughter. As we explored the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-40, we found some interesting descriptions of what a eunuch is. Ready?

Deuteronomy 23:1 and Isaiah 56:1-8 were probably the two best. The New International Version of the Bible gracefully bows out of this sticky situation in Deuteronomy 23:1 and renders the text: "No one who has been emasculated by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of the LORD" The New Living Translation (which is actually a paraphrase rendition) decides to be quite blunt and reads: "If a man's testicles are crushed or his penis is cut off, he may not be included in the assembly of the LORD." However, my personal favorite combination of grace and humor was the good ole King James Version which reads, "He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD." HA HA HA...who ever said the Bible wasn't a fun read?

Ok, back to the story. As Philip walks up beside this Ethiopian official as he is reading the prophet Isaiah (chapter 53 specifically), we must consider the possibility that this man may have been a proselyte (convert to Judaism). If so, he may have know of this "law" in Deuteronomy (discussed above) and have been upset at this restriction placed on him. But how incredible and mysterious are God's plans for His children. After Philip baptizes the eunuch and then vanishes from his sight (no really--vanishes, as in *poof* he's gone), we might assume that the Ethiopian got back into his chariot and continued reading where he left off. If so, he would shortly end up three chapters from where he was when Philip joined him and read this:
For this is what the LORD says:"To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant-to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off." (click this link to read the full passage)
God used Isaiah's depiction of Jesus as God's suffering servant, to prick the heart of a man who himself has most definitely suffered for obvious reasons. And what's more--He then allows him to read with lenses of faith the blessing of inclusion for all, yes even eunuchs, in the Kingdom of God.


Blogger TaB said...

Wot a breath of fresh air YOU must be to a midsummer’s eve conversation. I really need to sit in on one of these. As with much here I can already guess, I’ll be pinching the juice of this post for my Wednesday’s meeting :)

I used a similar conversation rather rudely on my behalf, in a more reproductive sense to chastise a rather unfertile sprit. I wish I would not do that. Im learning here Jeffery, you’re a fabulous gift!

August 09, 2005 2:54 PM


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