Everyone and Anyone
Scripture Reading — Acts 8:26-40
“Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” — Acts 8:36
The Christian faith is both the most inclusive and exclusive faith there is. How can that be?
Every religion has a founder. A prophet or a wise teacher informs their followers, “Here’s how to get to God.” Each describes a distinct way to God.
We’ve all heard the notion that all religions are the same, simply different paths to the top of the same mountain. That is almost true. Most religions say we need to climb our way up. Buddhism explains an eight-fold path. Hinduism teaches nine beliefs, and Islam has a prophet and five pillars.
But Christianity is different. Our leader does not say, “I’m here to show you God.” Jesus says, “I am God.” This is radically different and very exclusive. Jesus says, in effect, “I am God, and I have come to you—because you’ll never get there another way.” That leaves us with two options: Christianity is either the one true faith, or it is centered on a terrible lie.
Today’s reading shows this exclusivity. There is a unique One of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke. And Philip gladly tells about him. But this also shows the gospel’s radical inclusivity. A Jewish apostle and an Ethiopian court official are both saved in the same way. Anyone (inclusive) can receive and live this (exclusive) message. Americans. Asians. Africans. Europeans. Eunuchs. Government officials. And you and me!
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thank you for breaking down barriers between people. Thank you for inviting all of us into your kingdom. Amen.