Readings:  Joshua 2:1-24 and Acts 8:26-40

Joshua 2:11b: “…the LORD your God, He is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.”

Acts 8: 34-38: And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?”  Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.  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?”   And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.

 

“Confession of Faith”

We’ve entered a new set of readings in our Daily Lectionary.  The Old Testament readings come from the great book of conquest, the book of Joshua.  While the New Testament Readings return as they were with the post-Easter time.  They tell of the growth of the Early Christian Church as the evangelist Luke reports.

We can recall with great joy how the spies were sent into the Land of Canaan.  While there, a sinner shows them hospitality and shelters them (or should we say ‘quarantines them?!) for a time for their safety.  She diverted those seeking the spies and sent them on their way, but demanding a promise.  “Save me and my household when you guys come, for we’ve heard what the Lord has done to the Egyptians.”  

Word got out about the Red Sea crossing.  It may not have shown up in the news media of Egypt, but elsewhere it was major headlines.  (Sounds like the difficulties we’re facing with the news media reporting the right facts at the right time to the right people…)  Rahab doesn’t just stop with a quick demand for her earthly life.  She makes a confession of faith in the one true God of heaven and earth.  For this she is given the instruction to hang a scarlet cord from her window. This being a sign of her trusting that she will be saved.

Philip must have been enjoying a calm day when the Holy Spirit whisks him off to a desert road.  Then told him to start running beside a specific chariot.  He hears the Ethiopian read aloud the prophet Isaiah (reading aloud was commonly practiced in those days, versus the silent reading we do today).  Philip recognized the words, and asks if this returning visitor understands what he is reading.  “Of course not!  Come and help by explaining it to me.”  A confession of faith that says in effect, “Lord, I want to believe, help me in my unbelief.”

Beginning with that very verse, Philip is able to use the prophet Isaiah in telling this devote Jew about Jesus.  He had made his pilgrimage to Jerusalem, either for the Passover or Pentecost or Feast of Booths.  While there, he bought a scroll to take back to add to the treasury of his queen. He was paging through it to see the contents of this treasure.

“Here is water…What prevents me from being baptized?”  Like Rahab, this unnamed Ethiopian makes a confession of faith for the salvation of his life.  Philip baptizes him, and the man goes joyfully home.  He knows Jesus, the greatest treasure he could add to the queen’s coffers.

Do we share that same confession of faith and do we also believe that baptism now saves us?  Do we believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth as well as believing that the true treasure we can add to our treasury is the Word of God?  If so, we join Rahab and this Ethiopian with great joy, knowing our Savior Jesus who has washed us with His scarlet red blood hanging from the cross.    

 

Let us pray:  O Lord, grant us a steadfast faith to confess You as our true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Give us faith to treasure and trust Your Word, even in these difficult days.  Bless those who do not know the Savior Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  Lead them to Your Word and bless them to make confession of that faith that will both save them and give them great joy, even in the midst of their sorrows.  Comfort those who have lost loved ones due to the virus and any other disease which has separated them from them.  Give courage and strength to those who continue to minister to others in beds of pain.  We thank You for the gift and treasure of our faith; in Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Our Father…

The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  Amen.  (Romans 15:13)