Friday, August 31
This passage is from the Book of Acts, as were the previous two. There are still other passages in Acts that talk of someone, or many, being baptized. Why do you think that is?
Today’s reading is the conclusion of Philip’s encounter with an Ethiopian official. Philip is one of the twelve disciples and has been sent by an angel to a desert place south of Jerusalem where he encounters and teaches the treasurer of the Ethiopian queen.
What does the official ask? What opportunity does this give Philip? What does the official then request? What do they do?
An interesting way to look at this story is to ask, “Who is in charge?” The easy answer is “God.” But specifically, it can be argued that in this entire situation with Philip and the official, it is the official who is in charge. He was reading scripture. He asked the questions. He suggested the baptism.
God is certainly at work, and Philip does his part, but the official is the one who is pursuing spiritual depth by reading Isaiah and by confessing his ignorance. He seeks guidance through questions, and when he has learned, he determines that he will be baptized.
The Book of Acts is about the beginnings of the Christian church, and at that time there was great passion to follow the teachings of Christ. This passion was marked by baptism. That is why there are so many accounts of baptism in Acts.
The story is a story of passion, of people eagerly seeking the presence of God. And when they experience God, they are baptized. Is God any less at work now than He was then? No. Should we be seeking God as passionately as the first believers did? Yes.
The question is, will we? Will we be like the official and seek a deeper faith? Will we take the initiative to draw closer to God, and will we ask, “What prevents me from being baptized?”
DAILY CHALLENGE: What can you do to deepen your faith?