Ever imagine what it would be like to have all the money in the world—to be a king or a CEO, a wealthy celebrity? To even be close... What if you were like the second in command, the CFO—to be in charge of immeasurable wealth—to have power and influence and the accolades of others who marvel at your position and your wealth? Would it be enough? Would it be anything? Would it mean anything? There was a young boy who was chosen to serve his queen. She was the wealthiest and best-known person on the continent, and she and her wealth and beauty were known around the world.
He was a nobody. Poor family. Low expectations.
But he was brilliant. Handsome. Wise beyond his years. And clever.
Imagine the light in his eyes—his smile when he heard the words, “You’ve been chosen.”
The next step seemed automatic. "Yes!"
Absolutely an emphatic "yes." He was chosen by the queen herself.
But at what price?
He soon learned what it meant to belong to the queen. His life was no longer his own. He became a tool for her. While he was still a young boy, he was dragged into an ancient surgical suite, and his manhood was stolen—his future cut off. He would have no wife, no children, no home of his own.
He belonged to her and her alone. The chosen one became the chosen slave. He grew in favor and stature with the queen and her people. As he grew in wisdom, her kingdom grew in wealth, and so did he.
He had more wealth and power than he’d ever imagined. But what he could build for his queen would be his only legacy.
In the quiet of his room, he whispered prayers through a veil of silent tears. He wanted to believe—needed to believe—but was afraid to believe.
As much as he loved God and wanted to be a part of His family, he knew he would never be welcomed. He was a foreigner, and he was a eunuch. He'd studied the scriptures. Educated in the finest schools. Versed in numerous languages, including Greek. He'd obtained scrolls of the Torah and the Prophets on his journeys to Alexandria. He'd read the teachings. The words of Deuteronomy haunted him—shamed him—told him he didn't belong. How could he ever belong?
A man like me may never join the assembly of Yahweh. But somehow hope was stronger than fear. He'd realized he had nothing to lose. He wasn't getting any younger. He had no wife, no family, no ties to his world. Something inside told him he had to try to see if there was any way he could feel like he belonged with the children of God.
So, he invented a reason to go to Jerusalem—to walk the streets—to see the temple, even if he could never step inside. He led an entourage for the queen and conducted her business with style and precision. He was her living trophy. Handsome. Strong. Kind. And exceptionally wise with her money and her goods.
Jerusalem was everything he'd imagined. The temple—even though he couldn't enter its courts—he admired its grandeur—its immense size and the crowds that surrounded it each day. He marveled at the mysteries inside and the God who resided in its most holy place.
But he'd done all the business he'd come to do and more. He knew his queen would be proud, and it was time to leave.
He'd enjoyed his days in the Holy City but left feeling empty, excluded, discarded. He instructed his servants to prepare for the long journey home. As they left Jerusalem, he glanced at the massive walls and the temple—one last time. He could never imagine coming back—not as he was—not to be rejected and dejected again.
His chariot headed south toward the Dead Sea and the desert. Lifeless and dry like his hardening heart. The whispers—the inner screaming out to God followed him out of the city. His thoughts haunted him. Doubts hung over him. God could never love you. You know the rules. And you can never win—never be a part of any royal family.
How those thoughts stung. How they burned into his heart. He had to make them stop. He hid his face from his servants. Hid his tears.
He wanted to put Jerusalem behind him—out of his mind—out of his life. If he could never be a part of God's family, he wanted no part of His Holy City or His country. As he rode in his stylish chariot, he gazed at the Dead Sea on his left, the barren mountains on right, and the desert all around.
All of Israel was a desert to him.
But his thoughts chased him and taunted him. He needed to distract himself—to clear his mind. He opened his scroll of Isaiah, a Greek translation he'd purchased in Alexandria.
He read aloud.
"He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground."
As he read, he consider the ridiculous thought of the desert around him. Dry, rocky soil with only scattered scrub. A tender shoot could never grow in such a place. And if it did, it would die by midday.
"He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem."
The words began to sting as he began to see himself. Undesirable. Despised. And Rejected.
New fears. New doubts. Struggling to find any hope but still needing a distraction, he continued to read.
"Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted."
He saw even more of himself. He wanted to know this man he was reading about, because he felt like God was punishing this man as God had punished him. He felt stricken by God. Rejected. Why had God allowed the queen to ruin him and rule over him. Why had God rejected him by the words of the Torah and the Prophets?
He struggled to read through his tears and hope none of his servants would notice.
"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living."
Tears streamed like never before. He considered himself like that innocent lamb led to the slaughter. His life—his future—any hope of a family of belonging had been cut off. And he couldn't say a word.
He sniffed and wiped his tears. His servants were all engaged in their duties—eyes on the caravan.
He read the words again. "He was cut off from the land of the living."
As he pondered the words, his chariot slowed and stopped. He spotted a young man who seemed to have come out of nowhere jogging alongside his chariot. He commanded his driver to stop.
Then he looked at the man expecting him to beg for money, ask for a ride, or try to sell him something. Or perhaps he was foolish enough to try to rob them.
But the man asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?" What an odd question, he thought, but he answered, "How can I unless someone explains it to me?" I expect you've heard the story before. Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch. But have you ever wondered why we know so little about this man? Don't read my narrative as gospel, but read it to expand your thoughts—to dig a little deeper and understand where he was coming from—his pain—his motivation—his journey.
As Philip unfolded the story of Yeshua as the sacrificial lamb in these verses, the Ethiopian Eunuch related to the savior's pain. He was all those things: despised, rejected, scorned, afflicted, innocent, betrayed, cut off and unable to leave the legacy of children, unable to have a wife, unable to live his own life with his own dreams or his own choices.
And when he'd called out to God and even visited His Holy City, he'd been rejected for who he was and for no fault of his own. As he and Philip talked, I imagine him going ahead and reading more from the prophet, Isaiah. Imagine how he would've felt if he read the words "Do not let the son of the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord speak, saying, 'The Lord has utterly separated me from His people;' Nor let the eunuch say, 'Here I am, a dry tree.' For thus says the Lord: 'To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths and choose what pleases Me and hold fast My covenant, even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name. Better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants—Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath and holds fast My covenant—even them I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.' The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, 'Yet I will gather to him others besides those who are gathered to him.'" The tears that must have flowed. Philip explained the scriptures to a man who had felt his life could never be his own, a man who would never had been allowed an audience with a priest let alone an audience with God. Yet these words from Isaiah said God wanted to invite him into His house—within His walls. And God wanted to give him a name. That's what a father does. He gives His son a name. God wanted to give him an everlasting name like a name that passes from one generation to another, an undying, everlasting name. Better than that of sons and daughters.
I can't imagine the joy, the surprising, overwhelming joy he must've felt as he absorbed the idea that God was inviting him to His holy mountain to make him joyful in His house. God was going to accept him and accept his offerings—his sacrifice. It must've felt too good to be true. Everything had hindered him from becoming part of God's family. Everything had pushed him away. Life had been a series of closed doors. Could he dare hope? Would he? Surely something else was waiting to tell him he didn't belong, to tell him "no."
But he swallowed his fear and his pride and asked, "What hinders me?" What else could there be? Surely there's a catch, just one more thing that would keep him from God.?
"Stop," he said, and the chariot stopped.
There are some fresh water springs and waterfalls near Ein Gedi, near the place where David hid in a cave from King Saul, close to the Dead Sea and the lowest point on the earth. It's a desert. 110 degrees Farenheit. But as they read those words, they'd reached water. And nothing was left to stop him.
Hope had sprung up in the desert. Fresh pools and shade.
So, they went down into the water and the eunuch related to the man of sorrows by being buried with him in a watery grave and being raised to everlasting life with a new name, an everlasting name.
He'd gained it all. Hope. Joy. Peace. Love. All the spiritual wealth his king could afford.
It was more than enough. It was everything.
He learned what it meant to belong to the King—to be His child.