"What prevents me from being baptized?" It was a question asked with a mixture of hope and resignation. It came from a man who was used to being told that he wasn't good enough or whole enough or man enough. Now he was waiting to be told why he couldn't become a Christian.

This man was an official of the queen of Ethiopia. He was also a eunuch, having been castrated to enable him to work in close proximity to the queen, a common practice in ancient times.

We read his story in chapter 8 of the book of Acts in the New Testament. This man was returning from a trip to Jerusalem. Apparently he was a Jew and had gone to worship in the temple. However, as a eunuch, he wouldn't have been allowed to enter the temple. Jewish law didn't allow it. As had happened so often in his life, this man had been told he wasn't able to do what others could do.

As he traveled through the desert, making the long trip back to Ethiopia, he read from the book of Isaiah. We don't know where he got the scroll from; personal copies of the Bible weren't common then. Maybe he bought it in Jerusalem. The book of Isaiah has a famous passage with promises for eunuchs (Chapter 56); maybe he had purchased the scroll for that reason.

As he traveled and read, he began to puzzle over some of what he was reading in Chapter 53. A man named Philip approached the chariot and asked if the eunuch understood what he was reading. The eunuch admitted he didn't, that he wasn't sure who the prophet was talking about. Philip taught this Ethiopian man about Jesus, using Isaiah 53 and other passages.

In explaining the good news of Jesus, Philip obviously mentioned baptism, for when the eunuch spotted a body of water, he said, "There's water! What prevents me from being baptized?" He was waiting for Philip to explain that salvation wasn't for eunuchs, that only whole people could be a part of God's kingdom. Instead, Philip assured him that everyone with faith could come to Jesus in baptism.

It was good news for the Ethiopian. It's good news for us. Everyone who is willing to put their faith in Jesus may come to him.

Everyone who is willing to put their faith in Jesus may come to him
The Bible says the Ethiopian eunuch was baptized and went on his way rejoicing. You can too. You can accept Jesus as Lord and spend the rest of your life rejoicing over that decision. If you'd like to know more about how to do that, write to me at tarcher@heraldoftruth.org or leave a comment on our HopeForLife.org website.

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