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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“’If you believe with all your heart you may.’ And he replied, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’”—Acts 8:37 (HCSB)
Acts 8 describes a man so desirous of God and desperately in search of knowing Him. The uniqueness of this man is what stands out most. This wasn’t just any man—he was an Ethiopian eunuch, and Philip was sent to this man, by God, to explain Scripture to him. Sent to him! Within this short text, there’s a beautiful story of inclusion that’s being told: Scripture is not racially biased. God chose to include this story in Scripture so that all men and women would understand that they’re welcomed into His grace.
Before he recognized mercy as his own, he first questioned what could disqualify him from receiving it through baptism. Oh, how deeply I relate to his questioning. How often do we turn to questioning mercy before we turn our gaze to the cross? Wanting to fall at the feet of Jesus after sinning, something in my logical mind stops me, saying, “You’ve disqualified yourself from grace. Hang your head in shame a little longer so that He knows you’re truly sorry.” But is that what Jesus wants? No! Through Jesus, we’ve each been given liberty from sin. All He asks is that we confess Him as the Son of God (John 1:34).
Think back on the day you were baptized. If you were baptized in the ocean like me, you probably think of the crisp blue waters, looking more inviting than ever before. You picture the white, puffy clouds above, the sun gleaning brightly through them as though God Himself was shining upon you. You remember the warmth of forgiveness and new life wash over you. Do you recall the pure joy you felt?
When the Ethiopian man was baptized, his joy came from the manifestation of salvation (Luke 6:23, 10:20; Acts 8:8), and he couldn’t contain his joy. He had to rejoice.
We don’t know much about this man’s life. We don’t know if he experienced change, loss, fear, or doubt. I find it important that the potential highs and lows of his life aren’t listed. Nonetheless, today we can read this story and be encouraged knowing that just as he turned his gaze heavenward and confessed Jesus as the Son of God, we, too, can find unexplainable joy in our salvation.
Dig: Read through Luke 6:23, 8:26–40, 10:20, and Acts 8:8.
Discover: Spend an hour or two in prayer this week. Have you forgotten the joy you found on the day of your salvation or baptism? Do you hang your head in shame before approaching Him? If so, ask for forgiveness for hoping that shame would be the atonement for your sin. Ask for a fresh anointing of His Spirit, that He would bring the truth of His Word to your mind. Remember that you have been reconciled with Christ and can boldly approach Him (Hebrews 4:16), and His joy is waiting for you.
Display: Confess out loud that Jesus is the Son of God, remembering the joy you felt on the day you were baptized, and make a point to choose His joy this week—regardless of earthly situations.