Friday May 7, 2021
“The Lord will surely separate me from his people”;
and do not let the eunuch say,
“I am just a dry tree.”
For thus says the Lord:
To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
who choose the things that please me
and hold fast my covenant,
I will give, in my house and within my walls,
a monument and a name
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
that shall not be cut off.
The rules are never in black and white. Even when we think it is, or perhaps even if it is to us, it probably isn’t to someone else.
This Past week’s sermon by Pastor Leta was awesome. She artfully discussed the reality of a Eunuch not being allowed in the temple and paralleled the issue to our own world. What she didn’t go into it was another reality that others wanted that Eunuch allowed in the temple. Here’s a summary of this context, “The temple was controlled by Sadducees. They only saw the first 5 books of Scripture as Holy. This text from Isaiah would not have been lifted up or followed. Instead Deuteronomy 23:1 would be where they law pointed them in terms of Eunuch which as Pastor Leta pointed out would be the be all end all of the argument. It is quite conceivable that this diplomat from Ethiopia was rejected at the gates of the temple.
Surprisingly to some the ally of Philip in the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 26-40) would have been the Pharisees. The Pharisees did not control the temple and were more or less spread out in the community. Their scriptures included the prophets and hence the book of Isaiah. In this text the Eunuch was specifically lifted up as worthy of God.
Yes 500 years after Isaiah was written the people he was lifting up were still not allowed in the temple. The Ethiopian Eunuch I imagine, though refused in the temple, was comforted in some way in a pilgrimage to Jerusalem by the Pharisees. It was in this context that Philip shared Jesus Christ with him who cuts through the mess of our rules and regulations and says you are loved despite what others say.
Many of our issues today are not so different from those of the first century. We are wrestling with different issues of sexuality, but it still boils down to who is in and who is rejected at the gates of the temple (church). We can be comforted that in whatever we determine as righteous through the law the one we worship in Christ Jesus moves beyond the law and reaches out to those who are deemed unworthy. The rules of God in Christ Jesus moves beyond the borders that we put up.