(Acts 8:39) “And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”
The background of the text verse is the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-40). The eunuch had been in Jerusalem to worship, and was returning to his homeland. The Holy Spirit had commanded Philip to arise and go from Jerusalem to Gaza (Acts 8:26). Philip arose, and obeyed the Holy Spirit; and he met the Ethiopian returning from Jerusalem (Acts 8:28). Philip overheard the eunuch reading out of the 53rd chapter of the Book of Isaiah. Philip asked the eunuch, “Understandest thou what thou readest?” (Acts 8:30). The eunuch replied, “How can I, except some man should guide me?” (Acts 8:31). “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35). After Philip’s message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the eunuch desired to be baptized (Acts 8:36).
(Act 8:37-38) “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
(38) And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.”
When the eunuch began reading (Isa. 53:1-12), he had no idea the joy unspeakable that would be experienced in his spirit upon his soon confession of his understanding that Jesus was the Suffering Servant which the prophet Isaiah wrote of in chapter 53. In the course of the eunuch’s encounter with Christ that day, he came to understand that this Jesus was his own personal Sacrifice, Substitute, and Savior. The eunuch confessed with his mouth that he had witness in himself that Jesus, born in Bethlehem, born of a virgin, was God Himself in the flesh, yet without sin. Upon the confession by the eunuch of who he knew Jesus to be, Philip baptized the eunuch. Immediately when the eunuch came up out of the water, the Spirit caught Philip away; and the eunuch went on his way “Rejoicing.”
Question: What was the eunuch rejoicing about? There are many theological reasons that could be listed at this point. However, the only true definition of exactly what is involved in the eunuch’s rejoicing can only be known by a person who has experienced regeneration by the Spirit of God, and been brought to conversion (or confession; Rom. 10:9-10) by the Holy Spirit, of the understanding of (1 Jn. 5:20), “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”
The key word is “understanding.” No matter what follows this word, without understanding (or discernment or perception of), there can be no rejoicing concerning who Jesus is, and of the believer being in Christ without any condemnation (Rom. 8:1-2). This understanding, or perception, or discernment, is not in man until he is given the “mind of Christ”; which means he has understanding that the Holy Spirit lives in the believer (1 Cor. 2:9-16), and the Spirit’s ministry is operative in him. The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Church in Corinth, gives the contrast of the “natural man” (who is void of any spiritual understanding of Christ) (1 Cor. 2:14) “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” And of the man who has the “Mind of Christ” (1Co 2:11) “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” Then, Paul adds, (1Co 2:12) “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”
Therefore, confession by the mouth that Jesus is God in the flesh, reveals what the heart believeth, because the Spirit of God has revealed this to the sinner in regeneration by the gift of love and the gift of Faith. Faith generates, or is moved by, love; (Gal 5:6) “…but faith which worketh by love.” When the love of God is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost (Rom. 5:5c); the born-again sinner is moved to praise Jesus Christ – the Suffering Servant of (Isa. 53:1-12); the sinner’s Sacrifice for the payment of his sin debt to God (Eph. 1:7); the sinner’s Substitute to take on the punishment for the sinner’s sin (2 Cor. 5:21); and the sinner’s Savior that redeemed him, reconciled him, and has rewarded the blood-bought sinner with regeneration and conversion (Rom. 3:24-25; 5:1-2). This process has given the sinner the certain knowledge that he is a son of God; whereby, he cries “Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:14-16).
When the sinner comes to fully understand (1 Jn. 5:20):
- “And we know that the Son of God is come,
- And hath given us an understanding,
- That we may know him that is true,
- And we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ.
- This is the true God, and eternal life.”
Then, and then only, is there experienced by the regenerated sinner, Joy Unspeakable (1 Peter 1:8) “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:”
When a person comes to know for certain that: (a) once he was blind spiritually, but now he can see; (b) he is no longer dead in trespasses and in sin; but, has been raised to walk in the newness of life in Christ; (c) he has been made free from the law of sin and death by the Spirit of Life; (d) he is no longer a servant of unrighteousness, but is now a servant of Righteousness; (e) he is a temple of the Christ; (f) all his sins have been forgiven in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ in His atonement for the sinner on the Cross; (g) he is secure in the love of God forever, and nothing can ever separate him from the love of God; and (h) when this physical life is over, he will receive a spiritual body that shall be in the Presence of Jesus Christ forever and ever – Then and Then Only He is Full of Joy Unspeakable.
The Ethiopian eunuch went away rejoicing; not because of the preacher; not because of the water; not anything else except, he now had an understanding (Jn. 3:27) that Jesus was God; that this same Jesus was the Suffering Servant of (Isa. 53:1-12); and this same Jesus was his personal Sacrifice, Substitute, and Savior. That this same Jesus had come to dwell in him; for now, he was a possessor of Eternal Life, even Jesus Christ Himself. Now he was forgiven of his sin debt; and he was now a child of God, and would forever be God’s son, and therefore would spend all eternity with Christ.
This evil world has the façade that the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life is the fountain-head of all joy. But O, what a lie from hell! The joy of the flesh is short-lived; it is a deceiver; and it brings you not to life, but to destruction and death. Wake up Reader, if you are depending upon the flesh to bring you true and lasting joy, for it cannot; for the True Origin, Author and Finisher of Joy is Jesus Christ. The Joy that Christ gives is “Joy Unspeakable.” The world knows nothing of Joy Unspeakable. The world’s joy is only for the moment; whereas, Christ’s Joy is for now and eternity.
Reader, examine yourself and see what kind of Joy you have. If all you have is the world’s joy; then, turn from the world and the flesh, and look to Christ, the Source and the Giver of Real and Lasting and Fulfilling Joy.