Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Clarify (10/15/15)
TITLE: The Revelation
By Jennifer Woodley
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Looking southward, he now saw ahead of him in the heat haze, two horses, regal in stature, bearing an ornate chariot. Phillip thought the carriage and its passenger must belong to royalty, for rich and lavish was the whole entourage. Then surprisingly, in the stillness of the afternoon, Phillip heard a man’s clear voice reading a familiar passage from Isaiah. The Spirit prompted him to go closer.
The traveler, dressed in royal finery, looked up at Phillip perplexed, and with candor, Phillip asked him, “Do you understand what you are reading, sir?
“How can I make sense of these words,” he responded, “unless someone explains them to me, to make the meaning clear.” And he warmly invited Phillip to come and have a seat at his side. The official read aloud, “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.”
The man turned to Phillip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this – about himself or about someone else? I do not understand.” And Phillip, with unequivocal detail and great enthusiasm, began to explain the text from Isaiah 53 to the man, understanding now why the Lord had directed him to this lonely, desert road.
Phillip brought clarity to the official, and the beautiful verses that had confounded him. “Here it is said of the Messiah, God’s son, Jesus, that he was led like a lamb, voiceless to the slaughter. It speaks of his ministry of taking away the sins of the world. In his oppression, when the wrath of God had struck him as the substitute for mankind, the full judgement was carried out upon Jesus, and so we need no longer fear judgement and condemnation; their force was borne by Christ. He has been exalted into heaven, and has no end of his reign. His life was taken away from the earth, taken by the murderous death on the cross, but the result is eternal salvation for all who believe in Him.”
The official, with eyes shining and an awakened heart, beamed with joy. He exclaimed,” Look here is a pool of water! What is to prevent me from being baptized and publicly declaring my belief in the Messiah?”
“Nothing,” laughed Phillip, delighted at the man’s new-found faith in Jesus the Christ.
Commanding the chariot bearers to halt, they alighted from the carriage and descended the embankment to the pool. In those next few moments, the man arose from the waters of baptism, harboring a great well of love and gratitude towards his Savior; the One given for the salvation of all people, even an Ethiopian eunuch.
Wiping the water from his face, the official turned to Phillip. But he was gone; called by the Spirit elsewhere. Dazzled by the light enfolding him, and the sudden disappearance of God’s messenger, the man returned to his chariot, lighter, freer, cleaner. Confusion gave way to understanding, longing for God gave way to joy in finding Jesus. The gifts of peace and gratitude settled over him like a beautiful cloak, as the chariot rocked along the desert road towards Gaza.
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