Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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Hey Pastor John,
I have a question. Starting in Acts 8:36 when Philip is riding in the chariot with the eunuch, after hearing Philip preach to him about Jesus, the eunuch saw some water and wanted to be baptized. So, they stopped and Philip took him down to the water and baptized him in it...why is that? This man was an Ethiopian, so I didn't think that water baptism was required of anyone but the Jews at this time. All the other apostles/disciples were baptizing people with the holy Ghost, but then I noticed that Philip baptized the eunuch in water, and I was just wondering why that was. Maybe I'm missing something here and not reading into it properly.
First, the Ethiopian eunuch may have been from the land of Ethiopia, but have you ever wondered why he had to come to Jerusalem to worship God? The answer is that either he was a Jew who had happened to be born in Ethiopia or he was a convert to the Jewish religion (not Judaism as we know it now but religion as the Law of Moses described it). We don't know which of those two things is true, but the difference is insignificant as concerns your questions. Being a Jew, whether born Jewish or converted, the Ethiopian eunuch would have received the necessary circumcision of his Gentile foreskin so that he could travel to Jerusalem three times a year to present himself before the Lord, as the Law of Moses demanded. That explains why the Ethiopian eunuch was in Israel when Philip met him, and why Philip baptized him. John's baptism was required of everyone under the Law of Moses, that is, of every Jew.
Secondly, Paul's gospel, which excluded all ceremonial forms, including water baptism, had not yet been revealed to Paul or to anyone else. And even if it were to have been already revealed, Philip still was doing the right thing because he was dealing with a Jew when he ministered to the Ethiopian eunuch. Paul's gospel applied only to Gentiles.
Thanks for the questions. I like thinking about them.