There are many words and phrases we consider old-fashioned or out of date and as such we don’t use them.  One of them is hinder or hindrance.  I found it interesting, then, when a passage of scripture was stuck in my head using this word.  It is found in Acts 8:36, when the Ethiopian eunuch asked, “What hinders me?” or in other words, “What prevents me?”  

So, what exactly was the eunuch being prevented from?  We know from the text that he was religious man, for he was returning from a trip to Jerusalem where he had gone to worship.  He was reading scripture from the prophet Isaiah.  I believe that the eunuch was being hindered from a relationship with God as God desired.  I also believe a study of the text shows the three things hindered or prevented him.  The first was the knowledge of that relationship with God and how it was entered.  Philip came to the eunuch, led by the Spirit, and when prompted by the Spirit and by the eunuch he began to preach to him, Jesus.  Apparently he wasn’t aware of recent events in Jerusalem; that a great prophet and miracle worker had been crucified and resurrected.  Nor had he heard of the great number of followers who began a movement with others through His teachings.

By virtue of overcoming the hindrance of a lack of knowledge, we see another hindrance fall by the wayside, that being the hindrance of desire.  Being made aware of this information, the eunuch made it very clear that he believed what he had heard.  His very words were “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God!” (vs. 37)  Having come to this decision, he was ready now to take whatever measures or steps that God had asked of him. 

This brings us to the third hindrance, that being water.  Somewhere in preaching Jesus to him, Philip had apparently mentioned the need for water baptism.  Since they were in a desert environment this could present a problem, a hindrance, yet in their travels down this particular road, that hindrance too, was overcome!  The result was great rejoicing by the eunuch following his baptism.  Hindrances can and indeed must be overcome! Won’t you remove the hindrances to salvation in your life and experience the same rejoicing that the eunuch did? 

Copyright © 2006, Nolan P. Rutter

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