June 1, 2021
"No foreigner who has converted to the Lord should say, ‘The Lord will exclude me from His people’; and the eunuch should not say, ‘Look, I am a dried-up tree.’"
“No foreigner who has converted to the Lord should say, ‘The Lord will exclude me from His people’; and the eunuch should not say, ‘Look, I am a dried-up tree.’ For the Lord says this: For the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold firmly to My covenant, I will give them, in My house and within My walls, a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters. Will give each of them an everlasting name that will never be cut off.” Isaiah 56:3-5
In today’s chapter, once more, Isaiah raises expectations that Messiah’s coming is near: “My salvation is close at hand and My righteousness will soon be revealed.” (56:1) Consequently, those who have received God’s blessing of salvation should be serious in their concern to be holy. “Doing what is right” and keeping one’s “hand from doing evil involves a concern for the fourth commandment: Remember the Sabbath day. In fact, three different types of “Sabbath-keepers” are mentioned: Repentant Jews, foreigners, and eunuchs. All three had a burden that needed to be lifted, a barrier between them and worship. Knowing the word “Sabbath” translates as both “seven” and “rest,” consider Jesus’ words.
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
The eunuch was burdened because he was barred from worshipping in God’s temple because of physical deformity.
“No one who is emasculated or has his male organ cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 23:1
This makes the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch in the book of Acts even more powerful. Most likely a dispersed Jew and obedient pilgrim, the Ethiopian eunuch had traveled to Jerusalem to worship and most likely had stayed over for Shavuot (Pentecost) and heard of the strange happenings there. He was faithful, even though he was barred from entering the Temple complex. Now on his way home, he was reading the Isaiah scroll (not easily available to non-Jews) in Isaiah 53. That is when God sent Philip to him.
“So he (Philip) got up and went. There was an Ethiopian man, a eunuch and high official of Candace, the queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to worship in Jerusalem and was sitting in his chariot on his way home reading the prophet Isaiah aloud. The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go and join that chariot.’” Acts 8:27-29
I have no doubt that Philip continued reading all the way to 56, where this eunuch would have learned that Jesus had made him “kosher,” so to speak. Through Messiah, This Eunuch was given a memorial and a name. See, eunuchs had no name to pass on because they were unable to father children. But this eunuch’s name was now “The Lord’s son,” and his memorial would be his spiritual children who would come forth because of his gospel testimony. So, what are your name and memorial?