God continues to instruct Philip, this time asking him to greet a member of Queen Candace of Ethiopia’s Court, who is traveling by chariot on this isolated road. Philip follows God’s instruction, runs up to the chariot, and hears the familiar words of the prophet being read. Hearing this “outsider” reading the holy words of Philip’s faith aloud is most likely a jarring experience for him. Philip, and everyone he worships with, knows that this eunuch has been banned from temple worship (Deut 23:1; Lev 21:17-21). Eunuchs were not allowed to draw near to God, yet this is someone God wants to introduce Philip to, here in the middle of nowhere. Understandably, Philip wonders why God wants this—and why an outsider is reading the Scriptures to himself.
“Do you understand what you are reading?” (v. 30). His question is another indication that Philip doesn’t think it’s possible for this man to follow God. God, however, invites Philip to change his mind, using this powerful eunuch’s reply to do so: “How can I, unless someone guides me?” (v. 31).
Isn’t this how God works most of the time? By giving us the chance to rethink our position on who God loves and who God doesn’t love? When the Ethiopian eunuch invites Philip to join him in the chariot, Philip has to decide if he believes that God’s love is inclusive enough for this man.
This same question applies to us. Do we believe that God’s love is meant for everyone?
Are there some people you consider to be outside the realm of God’s love? Why or why not? When have you received God’s love from someone who might consider you an outsider?
God, thank you for always calling me to notice that your extravagant gift of love is not only for me, but for all of creation. Help me to choose to love more often than I do. Help me mirror your love to others today. Amen.