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Key Stage 1 - baptism - Philip and the Ethiopian man (Acts 8)

Monday 4 February 2019


Telling the story of Philip and the Ethiopian and explaining some facts about Christian baptism.

Using Storystack characters.

A great add-on craft would be to make the chariot!

Why do we wash our hands? Because the water washes off dirt to make us clean.

Some faiths have a form of washing ceremony to make people ‘clean’ in a special kind of way – do you know what that is? Washing can be a symbol of being pure – having a life clean from sin (not dirt!). We know that we cannot wash away bad thoughts and actions with soap and water but the washing is just something that we can do to show something bigger that only God can do.

 

Let’s look at a story in the bible that tells us about a man being baptised. We don’t know his name but he was from Ethiopia and he met with a follower of Jesus called Phillip. Phillip had travelled around with Jesus a few years earlier.

Philip and the Ethiopian man (Acts 8)

One day, an angel of the Lord went to Philip and told him to travel south on the lonely desert road. He set off on this journey and ahead of him he saw a man sitting in his chariot. This man was from Ethiopia in Africa and he was an important official in charge of the queen’s money. He had been in Jerusalem worshipping God at the temple and was on his way home. He was reading a scroll from the book of Isaiah in the scriptures. The Holy Spirit told Philip to go to the chariot, so he did.

Philip heard the man reading from the scroll, from the book of Isaiah who was a prophet. He said to the man in the chariot, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

The man from Ethiopia said, “How can I unless someone explains it to me?” He asked Philip to come into the chariot and sit with him, so Philip climbed into the chariot.

The man from Ethiopia was confused. In this passage from scripture on the scroll, Isaiah was talking about a man who was put to death and wouldn't even defend himself. The Ethiopian man wanted to know who Isaiah was talking about. Their conversation went something like this:

 Philip:              “It was Jesus, the Son of God. He died a few years ago”.

Ethiopian man:  (surprised) “But this scroll is hundreds of years old!”

Philip:              “God's messenger, Isaiah, knew how Jesus would die. God told him.

Ethiopian man: "That's amazing! How did Jesus die?”

Philip:              “He was put to death on a wooden cross.”

Ethiopian man: "Why didn't he try and save himself?”

Philip:              “He could have, but he wouldn't do that because he wanted to do what God wanted.

                        God's plan was for Jesus to die for us, so we can become God's friends.”

Ethiopian man: “I really want to be God's friend, that's why I'm reading this scroll.”

Philip:              “If you believe in Jesus, you are God's friend.”

Ethiopian man:  (sadly) “What a pity Jesus is dead. I would like to know him.”

Philip:              “You can! The good news is God brought Jesus back to life. He's alive forever.”

Ethiopian man: (happily) “Then I want to belong to him! I'm glad you told me the good news about Jesus. I want to be baptised!”

Philip:              “Do you believe what I have told you about Jesus?”

Ethiopian man: “Yes! I certainly do believe.”

So, Philip and the Ethiopian man jumped out of the chariot and went down to the water and Philip baptised the man. After this had happened, God suddenly took Philip away and the Ethiopian man didn't see him again but he travelled on home, full of joy because of all he'd heard.

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When Phillip met the man from Ethiopia, the man already believed in God and was reading about a man called Isaiah who was one of God’s messengers.

So, we know that the man wanted to know more about God. He didn’t know about Jesus. He needed to meet somebody who did know about Jesus and that was Phillip.

Why did the man from Ethiopia want to be baptised? Phillip had told him that Isaiah was talking about Jesus and the man recognised who Jesus is and wanted to follow him. He had probably heard about people becoming followers of Jesus and being baptised and he wanted to do the same thing.

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Have you ever seen somebody being baptised? Was there a little bit of water or a lot of water? Sometimes the person gets right down into the water and sometimes there’s a little water poured over them, especially if they are young. Sometimes they are very young and their parents are followers of Jesus and sometimes they are older and they have decided for themselves to follow Jesus.

 

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