828 King's Highway, Suffolk VA 23432

757 255-4168 stjohns1755@verizon.net Worship Service: Sundays at 10:30am
Welcome to St. John's community. We are honored to serve Christ, and to open our doors to all. Please feel free to join us for worship. St. John's can trace its history to the founding of Jamestown. The parish is over 350 years old, and the church building itself has stood for 2 and a half centuries. St. John's saw the American Revolution and served as a camp ground for troops during the Civil War. Through it all, St. John's has been a place of worship and a home for those seeking communion with Christ. St. John's has a rich and abiding history. Today, it is as it was... a place to find and be found by Christ.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Christian Formation for Sunday May 6, the 5th Sunday of Easter - Acts 8:26-40, Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

May 6, 2012, 5th Sunday of Easter
Acts 8:26-40
Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch
Background: The Acts of the Apostles continues the story of Jesus’ life portrayed in the Gospel of Luke. This book emphasizes the sovereignty of God and the divinity of Jesus; heavy emphasis is placed on tying all Jesus did to the Old Testament prophets. It has been said that Luke’s intent was to show the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus were both real and preordained by God.

Theme: In this passage we see indicators of Christianity’s growth outside Israel and its neighbors. This is one of a continuing series of call and evangelism stories situated between Stephen’s martyrdom and Saul’s conversion. Through this passage the author of Acts continues to define the growth in acceptance and stature of the Christian cult in the Ancient Near East.

Questions to Ponder

* Review Acts 4:4-25 paying attention to the principals in action and their presentation of the gospel.

* Briefly describe the social and political situation surrounding this passage.

* Be familiar with the geographic setting of this story and the layout of the places named in the passage.

* In verse 26, the phrase “go to the south” could also be interpreted “go at noon”. What difference would it make with either interpretation? What other events may have taken place at or about noon in the book of Acts? Given the specificity of the time, how might that be an indicator of the Holy Spirit’s interaction with humanity in the growing Christian faith?

* What might the significance of Ethiopia be to this passage? Why might it be important for the Ethiopian in the passage to be a member of the queen’s court?

* How might the fact that the Ethiopian in the chariot was a eunuch impact the conversion that takes place in the passage? How might the Jews treat or view a eunuch? By what authority would they treat a eunuch in that manner?

* What might the significance of the eunuch reading from the prophet Isaiah? What was the history of the passage to the nation of Israel? Do you think the passage should be redefined by the life of Jesus? How might this passage point to statements by Jesus in the gospels?

* For what reason do you think the author made it very clear that the actions in this passage were caused by the Holy Spirit? How might this support the intent of the author with regard to the empowerment of Christianity?

* Do you think the reinterpretation of the passage as one pointing specifically to Christ is helpful for unity in our Christian tradition? How might scriptural reinterpretation impact ecumenical relationships, especially with the Jews?

* It could be claimed the eunuch was the first African missionary yet there is no indication of him doing anything except rejoicing. How might his rejoicing be a form of evangelism?

* Do you think the Holy Spirit actually teleported Philip to Azotus? Where is Caesarea in relation to Azotus and what might the author be claiming with this passage?

* What are the implications of this passage for us in the global community of the 21st century?

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