And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea. – Acts 8:34-40
I use a teaching tool to speak about baptism: BoB, the Blessings of Baptism. I make the point that God’s word puts the blessings of baptism into the water of baptism, and faith receives those blessings and makes them our own. These truths are more than a teaching tool for me and our family.
When our son was born – 8 weeks premature and weighing 3 #, 12.5 oz. – the blessings of baptism took on new significance. When it became necessary to send him to a specialized children’s hospital in another town, I wanted to baptize him and did so while he was in the neonatal ICU. Once he was baptized I knew that there were promises attached to him, that prior to that moment had not. It was a moment of monumental relief and confidence.
When Philip tells the Ethiopian eunuch the Good News about Jesus he must have included the Good News of God’s grace and promises in baptism. The eunuch asks if he can be baptized.
The New Testament means of “sealing the deal” in regard to the conversion of someone is baptism. In baptism God puts his name on us. He claims us as his own. He promises forgiveness of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and says (cf. Acts 2:38-39) that those promises are for all people – including children, and those far off (Ethiopian eunuchs?).
The deal has been sealed now with the Ethiopian eunuch. Philip has served as God’s instrument to bring another into the rule and reign of Jesus. These two will now separate: one will go on his way to his home. Another will find himself in another place and continue to preach the Good News of Jesus on his way to Caesarea.
Thirty-three years ago, after I baptized our newborn son, I went on my way, back to the church I served and led worship and preached the Good News to the people there. Our son went on by ambulance to the hospital. We connected later that day. He is now a healthy 33 year old man, and I am thankful for God’s gifts and Blessings of Baptism.