“And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this,
about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning
with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.”
The eunuch needed to know that this gospel was for him too. It’s all very well to say that
Jesus was crucified for “our” transgressions, but does that “our” have room for the total
outsider, the eunuch from Ethiopia? The answer was a few columns further on in his
Isaiah scroll: “For the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, and choose what pleases me,
and hold firmly to my covenant, I will give them…a memorial and a name better than
sons and daughters. I will give each of them an everlasting name that will never be cut
off. As for the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the
name of the Lord, and to become his servants…I will bring them to my holy mountain
and let them rejoice in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be
acceptable on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
(Isa. 56:4-7) There may have been a “No entry” sign over the temple in Jerusalem for
the Ethiopian eunuch, but Isaiah foresaw a time when there would be an open door for
him too into the people of God.
The reason that Isaiah can anticipate the open door of Isaiah 56 is precisely because he
anticipates the suffering servant of Isaiah 53. It is the cutting off of the perfect one that
opens the doorway to all those who are morally crippled and spiritually emasculated.
The symbolic closing of access to God to those who are physically deformed is
transformed to an open door of access to God for all, because our spiritual disability has
been dealt with comprehensively in Christ. In Christ, there is neither Jew nor gentile,
slave nor free, male nor female, whole or eunuch: all who come to God, come by faith
on the same terms, with empty hands, and are made whole in Christ.