“Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.”
Acts 8:35 KJV
Yet all did not go as planned. Whatever his expectations, he soon realized he was a foreigner and outsider in more ways than one. The look of condescension from the locals had a strong and bitter flavor. Perhaps he thought his love for the God of Israel would have been enough to grant him access to God's house. He was so wrong.
As a Gentle, he was kept away from the inner courts of the temple. A Gentile could only stand outside of the Beautiful Gate and imagine, based on what he had heard, what it was like to enter into the Holy Place. He was literally left on the outside looking in.
If somehow he could have passed for a native born Israelite. Perhaps then he could have snuck in past the gates and into the courts. The deception would have been short-lived due to another matter. No, not the color of his skin, or the accent in his speech. He was a eunuch, and as such the Scriptures specifically excluded him from God's house. Even with a family tree showing direct ancestry back to Abraham, he would have never made it in. The "doorkeepers" of God's house literally checked everything to ensure the sanctity of Gods house was protected.
A seemingly chance encounter in the desert with an evangelist was about to change sorrow into joy. The sackcloth of double rejection was about to be replaced by a garment of praise and salvation. Philip joined himself to this man's chariot just as he concluded reading Isaiah 53:7-8.
"“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.” Isaiah 53:7-8 KJV"
Perhaps Phillip backtracked just a few verses to explain that "by his stripes we are healed". After all, the Eunuch's wounds were one of the barriers to his entrance into the presence of God.
Just a few short verses later, at the beginning of our chapter 54 we read, "“Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.” Isaiah 54:1 KJV Good news tô one destined to remain childless.
Not much further we read, “Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.” Isaiah 54:4 KJV The shame this man felt in Jerusalem and the reproach of being castrated was about to dissolve in God's grace.
Phillip continues to speak to a man who had spent a small fortune on a futile pilgrimage with the next chapter of Isaiah, "“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” Isaiah 55:1-2 KJV
Now comes the best part. The crème de la crème. The icing on the cake.
“Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” Isaiah 56:3-7 KJV
I don't have any proof, other than the sense of God's timing, but I would propose to you that it was right about here that the Ethiopian Eunuch looked up, and through eyes bursting with tears of joys, beheld a stream of water, in the middle of the desert, and proposed his own baptism! What could be better than a God-timed and God-ordained meeting in the desert.
As a brief aside, it was the eunuch that appealed for his own baptism. Phillip obviously understood, as all Christians must understand, that to preach to someone Jesus, means that you will preach baptism. Once cannot tell the good news, the Gospel, of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, without telling of its application, impartation and obedience through our repentance, water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost.
By the time the Spirit caught Phillip away and the meeting of these two had ended, a new season had dawned in this Ethiopian's life. Old things were passed away. All things had become new. He was a new creature in Christ. He was not even considered a person, was now part of the people and nation of God!
Rejoice my friends. Whatever you think has been keeping you out of God's presence is minuscule when brought into proximity with the grace of God. Rejoice O barren one! God's house is now a house of prayer for ALL PEOPLE!