7 words at the end of Acts 8.
7 words that strike into the heart of anyone who forms barriers or walls in the christian faith.
7 words that Luke wrote to tell his audience that even if the new northern christian church is destroyed under Nero, that the Gospel is in safe hands, and heading south.
Reassurance that a new faith is in safe hands, in the hands of an African from Sudan. How powerful. A man who heard it and went on rejoicing.
If Luke was making a point about the openness of the gospel, how it is sought not bought (acts 8:20). That the seeker shall find , regardless of status, of position, of ethnicity and of gender, or gender confusion.
The man confused and rejected by the Jewish institution finds acceptance in Jesus love as shown and demonstrated by Philip. Philip who heard and reacted respectfully to what he heard. Philip who followed the cue of the spirit to be sent, and to approach the chariot. Philip who provided understanding by helping the Ethiopian identify who isaiah was speaking of, and identify his own suffering in the suffering of Jesus.
However it’s as much that Luke includes this episode. For his readers, for significance. That race is no barrier to faith. That faith is no barrier to race.
There’s nothing contentious about luke. But maybe it wasn’t a big deal either.
Sadly and tragically. Its more of one today. Maybe the tragedy is that this feels a big deal in 2016. If there’s no race issue then. There shouldn’t be now in Christian countries. Challenging racism would be an adequate prophetical response to this passage in today’s context. As is challenging the barriers in the way for those who are prevented access through sexual identity confusion.
Not only the gospel is open. It’s trusted , carried and joyously accepted.
Faith has no boundary. It resides in the boundary.