Today we return to the story found in Acts 8 of the Ethiopian eunuch and Philip. So far, we have seen God guide Philip to the eunuch who was reading from the book of Isaiah as he traveled back home from a time of worship in Jerusalem. Due to a question the eunuch asked, Philip was invited into the chariot and preach about Jesus. Clearly, the message Philip shared spoke of our glorious Lord and His precious sacrifice. We also know that in that message, the act of baptism was introduced, for it was the eunuch who asked “What hinders me from being baptized?” Although imperative in God’s scheme of things, there is something even more important!
Then Philip said, “If you believe with
all your heart, you may.”
And he answered and said, “I believe
that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Acts 8:37
For many of us, you may be scratching your head saying, “I don’t see that verse in my bible.” Actually, if you look down in your footnotes, you will find it there. I find it interesting that Philip would ask such a question, don’t you? I couldn’t help but remember the words of Jesus found in Mark 16:15-16 where He commands, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Some in the religious world use this text to try and prove baptism is not necessary for salvation, because the one condemned is the one who does not believe. But our text from Acts sheds light on why Jesus spoke those words. A belief in the reality of Christ and who He is, must come before faith driven baptism. Why? Because my hope is in who Jesus is and what He promises to do in that act of obedience, or any other at of obedience for that matter. Who He is to me is of greatest importance.
Therefore whoever confesses Me
before men, him I will also confess
before My Father who is in heaven.
But whoever denies Me before men,
him I will also deny before
My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 10:32-33
I believe I understand why Philip asked the question. For baptism to be all that God intends it to be, we must first grasp who Jesus is and be willing to commit ourselves to Him. Who we know is priority over what we do. This doesn’t minimize faith driven baptism, it merely puts it in the right order.