An Unexpected Surprise

Posted by on Sep 5, 2013 in Stepaneks from the Front | 2 comments


I had an unexpected surprise not too long ago.  A man on a motorcycle appeared in our yard one afternoon, and I was puzzled about who he was and what he wanted.  As I was pondering, I came to the conclusion he was a friend from Nebraska… but what was he doing here?   He lived over 500 miles away!  As we exchanged greetings, he let me know that he took the risk of driving to Grand Junction so he could learn more about creation and Genesis.  We had a wonderful two days of fellowship and discipleship.  I used some of my PowerPoint creation topics to teach, as well as a leisurely drive through the Colorado National Monument to explain the evidence of the world-wide flood of Noah’s day.

He commented the following about the scientific evidence we had discussed, “Taking me up on Glade Park (Colorado National Monument) and teaching me new things, has made God more awesome to me than ever. His power makes me shudder.”  Information on Genesis, creation, and the Flood does change people’s lives.

As I reflected on the time I spent with my friend, I realized it is just as important to teach one person as it is to teach a huge group.  Normally I like to teach to a large audience, because I feel like I can reach more people that way, but that may not always be the case.

Take for example Philip, in Acts chapter eight, who travels to the city of Samaria because of the persecution in Jerusalem.  In Samaria, he preached Christ to them and many were saved.  Next, the angel of the Lord sends Philip to a road which leads from Jerusalem to Gaza.  This is over fifty miles from the city of Samaria. This is a long way when traveling by foot.   God sends him there for the instruction of just one man about the LORD.  This man is the Ethiopian eunuch.  The eunuch believes the words of God and is then baptized.  Is preaching and discipling just one man important!  Yes, it is!  He had an influence on his own country.

Unexpected SurpriseNow we come to the Labor Day weekend. The Johnsons, Sue, and I had the opportunity to minister at a Bible conference center located just north of Colorado Springs, CO.    We ministered to, none other than, an Ethiopian church.  Almost all of the adults had emigrated to the U.S. from Ethiopia, and some of them could not even speak English.  As I was teaching, I wondered if Philip had an effect on these people through the instructing of just one man, the Ethiopian eunuch.

I did not travel to Nebraska to instruct my friend about creation and Genesis, but I believe he was led by the Lord to travel over 500 miles to come and see me.  I wonder what effect he will have on the people in his area, including friends and family, with his increased knowledge of Scripture.  God loves all people and He wants them to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.


Rich Stepanek

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  1. Reportedly, the word in Greek (or Hebrew, I don’t really remember which) for believer and eunuch are similar and this should read Ethiopian believer, not eunuch. Since they do not have a history of eunuch practices, it seems that believer is more accurate because of Ethiopia’s long history as believers in the God of Moses and early history in accepting Jesus as God and Savior. He was clearly a believer in scripture as he had come to Jerusalem to worship.

    • The account of the Ethiopian Eunuch is from a portion of the New Testament, the book of Acts, which was originally written in the Greek – so below are the meanings of the Greek word ‘eunuch’ from the ‘Online Bible Edition 4.08.04’.

      2135 ευνουχος eunouchos yoo-noo’-khos
      from eune (a bed) and 2192; TDNT-2:765,277; n m
      AV-eunuch 8; 8
      1) a bed keeper, bed guard, superintendent of the bedchamber, chamberlain
      1a) in the palace of oriental monarchs who support numerous wives the superintendent of the women’s apartment or harem, an office held by eunuchs
      1b) an emasculated man, a eunuch
      1b1) eunuchs in oriental courts held by other offices of greater, held by the Ethiopian eunuch mentioned in #Ac 8:27-39.
      1c) one naturally incapacitated
      1c1) for marriage
      1c2) begetting children
      1d) one who voluntarily abstains from marriage

      In the Old Testament the meaning of the word ‘eunuch’ is:
      05631 סריס cariyc saw-reece’ or סרס caric saw-reece’
      from an unused root meaning to castrate; n m; {See TWOT on 1545}
      AV-eunuch 17, chamberlain 13, officer 12; 42
      1) official, eunuch

      As I study this word ‘eunuch’ there is no evidence of it meaning believer. Also there were many people who traveled to Jerusalem to worship, but were not believers. Actually as you study Acts, most of the people who worshipped at Jerusalem, mostly Jews, were against the believers. In the beginning, most of the persecution of the Christians came from the Jews who worshipped in Jerusalem. (read Acts 6:8-11 to 8:4; just prior to the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch)

      This account of the eunuch is somewhat similar to the account of the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:25-34. The jailer hears Paul and Silas praising God, and later he asks Paul and Silas, “What must I do to be saved?” They reply, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Afterwards they are baptized. The preaching of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, changes people’s lives as it did the eunuch’s, the jailer’s, and mine!

      Acts 8:37 & 39b
      37 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.
      39b …that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

      Richard Stepanek

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