The text for this lesson is Acts 8:26–40.
- As He came to the Ethiopian, our Lord comes to us in our weakness, for we cannot by our own reason or strength come to Him. Through the Means of Grace, the Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies us, keeping us with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.
- Law: Trusting in my sinful reason, I cannot understand the need for or the work of Christ.
- Gospel: God grants me faith through His Word and Sacrament so that I trust in His Son, Jesus, as my Savior.
- Think about God’s Word and Baptism. Do you ever wish that you could better understand the Bible? What prevents you from understanding it correctly? Now think about Baptism. What does it mean for your daily life?
- Read Acts 8:26–29. These verses set the stage for the rest of the story. If you have a map in your Bible, or a Bible atlas, find Gaza along the Mediterranean coast, south and west of Jerusalem. Who tells Philip to go south to Gaza, and what does it mean? What is significant about the town of Gaza? See Acts 1:8 and 8:4–5. What do we learn about the Ethiopian in verse 27? Why would he be reading the prophet Isaiah (v. 28)?
- Read Acts 8:30–35. What passage was the Ethiopian reading? What does the Ethiopian ask Philip? Look up Isaiah 53:7–8. What clues does the context of this passage give as to whom it is talking about? See Isaiah 52:13. How does Philip answer the Ethiopian’s question? How does this teach us to read the Old Testament? See also Luke 24:44–47.
- Read Acts 8:36–38. What evidence of faith do we see from the Ethiopian in verse 36? What does the Ethiopian’s faith long for and seek? How does Philip respond?
- How important is it to listen to our pastor when he proclaims God’s message of mercy to us? How important is it to study the Scriptures with our brothers and sisters in Christ? See 2 Peter 1:20; Luke 10:16; Romans 10:17; Colossians 3:16; and Hebrews 10:24–25.
- The Small Catechism says that our Baptism in Christ Jesus “indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever” (Small Catechism, Holy Baptism, part 4). Discuss why this is so radical and yet so comforting.