Philip and the Ethiopian

John stood on the basketball court covered in sweat and feeling more than a little frustrated. He had spent an hour trying to practice his basketball shots. He wanted to be as good as he could be before joining his first team later that month. No matter how much he sat out there by himself throwing the ball up at the hoop, he didn’t feel like he had gotten any better. Feeling defeated, he grabbed his water bottle and started to walk home. As he started to go he noticed an older boy was also practicing basketball by himself. John watched as shot after shot went into the net, even when the boy missed John could tell it wasn’t by much. “I wish all of my practice made that much of a difference.” John thought to himself. He hung his head and started to walk away. Just then the older boy called out, “Hey, would you like me to show you how to shoot the basketball better?” He had been watching John and knew that he could help him out. It was weird at first to shoot the way the older boy taught him but John soon realized that his practice actually was helping him improve! When John joined the basketball team, he knew he wouldn’t be as good without that older boy’s help. 

There is no basketball practice in the Bible. Perfect shooting form won’t help us in our faith lives. There was, however, a time in the Bible that something very similar to our story happened. 

Read Together: Acts 8:26-40 CLICK HERE TO READ

Philip was an Apostle, (one sent out by Jesus to spread the good news about him) and an angel told him to start walking south toward Egypt. When Philip had been walking for a bit he saw a chariot up ahead and the Holy Spirit told him to walk next to that chariot. When Philip catches up he hears someone reading the Old Testament book of Isaiah out loud! The signs were pretty obvious, this man needed some help understanding the Bible and God had put Philip in the perfect place to help. So, Philip asks the man if he needs any help and the man says yes! Philip gets to tell him about Jesus and then the man even asks to get baptized!

We are told the story from Philip’s view, but imagine for a second being the Ethiopian man. He knew that the Bible was important, that is why he was reading the book of Isaiah! But he couldn’t make it make any sense. Can you imagine how frustrating it must have been to read something you know is important but it didn’t make any sense? Maybe you have felt that way while doing homework, or while learning your letters, or even when the blocks just don’t stack up right. When things don’t make sense we always need someone’s help to understand it. We can hardly ever figure it out on our own. Thankfully, we aren’t alone! God puts people into our lives that help us learn and understand God’s Word, just like Philip helping the Ethiopian man, so that our faith can continue to flourish and grow. 

Prayer Together: Dear Lord, thank you for not only giving us your precious word in the Bible but also for giving us people in our lives that teach God’s Word to us. Help us to always learn and grow in our faith so that we can always keep Christ central in our lives. 

Discussion Questions:

God was directing Philip to talk with the Ethiopian man, can you think of a time in the Bible when someone didn’t listen to God but ran away instead?

 

Who are some people in your life who help you learn more about the Bible?

 

What should you do if you don’t understand something that you learned in the Bible?

 

Parents, talk to your kids about how sometimes even you have questions about something in the Bible and need to ask a pastor about it! (This will help encourage them to realize that learning about God is a lifelong process!)

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