Christianity: Dogma and Morality or Devotion to a Man?
A study from Acts chapter 8 verses 26-40 in the Bible
It may surprise you to know that the heartbeat of Christianity is not its religious rituals or moral teachings. The following account of one man’s spiritual journey will help us understand that a Man, The Lord Jesus Christ, is the core of Christianity.
The main character of our story is the top economic official from the Northeast African kingdom of Ethiopia. We are not told anything about his disposition or attitude, but we know that, in his search for peace, he had converted to the Jewish religion and diligently searched out the new teachings. Many are like this dear sincere man, living a life of financial success with no peace while looking for reality in the religion of their fathers and coming up short. Some even convert to another religion only to be left disappointed and bitter.
On the long trip home from Jerusalem, this finance minister began reading the writings of the prophet Isaiah. While he wondered at the words, a gospel preacher came near and offered the reader some guidance. The chief treasurer wondered who the prophet’s words were about, “himself or some other man?” He had already gotten past the idea that God’s book only speaks of ritual and religion, and he had now realized that the message of hope is rooted in the virtues of a particular Man. Philip “began at that same scripture” and gladly “preached unto him Jesus.”
The man was reading what we call Isaiah 53 today. In those verses, God tells us of the character, life and death of the Lord Jesus Christ. These words help us understand what the highly educated man learned that day for the first time; The Lord Jesus Himself is the core of Christianity!
In the passage, we find that God saw His Son as a refreshing, tender plant in parched soil; consistently bringing pleasure to God (Isaiah 53:2). However, seeing no beauty in The Son, the masses despised and rejected Him (Isaiah 53:3). Verse five is the real eye-opener. We see what He did about sin; what makes Christianity unique. He died an extraordinary death, as we have explained in the prophet’s words:
• “He was wounded for our transgressions”: The piercing wounds of the cross were not for His evil but ours.
• “He was bruised for our iniquities”: Crushed under the weight of the punishment of our sins.
• “The chastisement of our peace was upon Him”: Mankind’s peace with God is based upon His punishment at the cross.
• “With His stripes, we are healed”: The judgment of God was necessary because our spiritual healing and forgiveness required that justice be served.
After learning of the Man Isaiah wrote of, our travelling friend becomes something that he never was before; a believer on the Lord Jesus Christ. His baptism was a declaration of that faith, but the life-changing experience was when He believed on this Man. It’s no wonder that afterward, it is declared that “he went on his way rejoicing.”
- By Brody Thibodeau