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Acts 8:36-38 The eunuch is baptized

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, January 21, 2020

36 As they were traveling along the road, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Here is some water. What would keep me from being baptized?”  38 He ordered the chariot to stop. Then Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.

Luke does not give us every detail. Evidently Philip saw the Ethiopian’s chariot while it was momentarily parked, and the eunuch had taken the opportunity to read. Then, when Philip climbed aboard, they proceeded down the road. Now, some distance later, they happened upon some water, and the eunuch asked about being baptized.

As R.C.H. Lenski points out, the problem here is not whether there is enough water along the road to Gaza to baptize by immersion, but whether there is any water along that road at all. The geography of the place cannot have changed much, but Eusebius (late 3rd to early 4th century) reported the presence of a small stream leading from a spring near the road.

Whatever water they found, it was enough. Philip applied the water to the eunuch, probably by pouring it over his head, and he said the words we were given by Jesus: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The power of baptism comes from the word of God, the name of God proclaimed by Jesus for this express purpose. The benefit of baptism is salvation, as Jesus says: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). By salvation we mean the forgiveness of our sins and a place with Jesus forever in heaven. Baptism also frees us from bondage to sin in this life, and we are able to resist the sway of the devil, with God’s help, as Hebrews says: “(Jesus) shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15). Baptism clothes us with Christ (Galatians 3:27). It is a means of grace, a channel through which the blessings of salvation from God come to us.

The baptized Christian is still beset by sins, both the original sin we’re born with and the daily (actual) sins we commit. “Baptism,” Luther explains, “means that the old Adam in us should be drowned by daily contrition and repentance, and that all its evil deeds and desires be put to death. It also means that a new person should daily arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever” (Small Catechism, Baptism “Fourthly”).

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

 

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