When it comes to faith (i.e., belief), the idea of Jesus being the Lamb of God is a sobering thought. The fact that He “Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1st Peter 2:24) is something to rejoice about, while at the same time, cause us great sadness because it was for us and because of us that He gave His life. When we consider the story of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts chapter 8, we find the Holy Spirit working in his life to bring the gospel to him through Philip. That Good News which Philip would share with the eunuch, involved helping the eunuch to see the great price that was paid for his sins. In v26 the angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” It was on this road that he found the eunuch reading from the prophet Isaiah (Acts 8:30). Taking the opportunity, Philip asked a question, “Do you understand what you are reading?” The Eunuch responds with a question, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” (Acts 8:31). The eunuch was reading about someone but could not understand who it was talking about. He would then ask this question, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” (Acts 8:34). The very next verse reads, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him” (Acts 8:35). The ETRV says, “He started with this same Scripture and told the man the Good News about Jesus.” What was the Scripture that would be used to point this man to Christ? What was it he needed to understand so he could believe and find salvation?
“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before
the shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” (Acts 8:32, cf. Isaiah 53:7)
In a recent lesson, I had said, “In order to understand the Good News there is need to understand the bad news.” Maybe, instead of bad news, I should say sad news. For Philip to answer the “who” which the eunuch desired to know, he would need to explain the why behind it. I wonder, would Philip had gone to Isaiah 53:4, as he began to point the eunuch towards the cross, where it says, “Surely He has bourne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”? The cross, the hideous scene of the cross. Yet with all that was shared last week concerning how Jesus served people, He would be viewed as “smitten by God and afflicted”; that is, he deserved what was coming to Him! It would make sense for him to point the eunuch to these verses. I suspect he would then go on to vv5-6 and reveal the reason for that cross and that reason was “our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5). Mankind has a sin problem! What the eunuch was searching for, maybe something he never totally grasped before, was his need for healing from his own sin. That healing would come through Christ and His cross which He bore in our place. And as He did, He said nothing! Matthew writes, “But Jesus kept silent” (Matthew 26:63). Jesus said nothing to defend the false accusation brought against Him.
“In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will declare
His generation? For His life is taken from the earth. (Acts 8:33, cf. Isaiah 53:8)
Why this humiliation? He was innocent of all charges! He was God in the flesh (John 1:1; 14) who came to heal His people, yet they rejected Him. The perfect Lamb of God would face injustice in order “that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). What did the prophet Isaiah mean when he wrote, “who will declare His generation?” If I understand it correctly, when someone was convicted and led to execution, there would be a “crier” who would follow the procession declaring, “Whoever knows anything about his innocence, let him declare it now.” No one spoke on His behalf! His disciples had “forsook Him and fled” when they came to arrest Jesus (Mark 14:50). Peter, the one who promised allegiance to Christ, when faced with the possible consequences of that commitment, quickly denied Christ (Mark 14:66ff). No one came to His defense! NO ONE! He was denied justice! He was put to death! The innocent in place of the guilty. This is who the prophet Isaiah wrote about.
I look back at our text and remind myself of the question that was asked, “…of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” (Acts 8:34). So eager to learn was the eunuch. And Philip started where the eunuch was at and taught him about the Good News of Jesus Christ. That Good News was simple, yet life changing. You see, Isaiah the prophet was speaking of someone who would come years down the road. This person would face individuals that wanted nothing better than to see Him die. Evens so, He remained quiet before His accusers. He would be humiliated before the crowds and falsely condemned. He would face this daunting task alone, for no one would defend Him. Why? I wonder if he would have continued reading, coming to this verse in Isaiah 53, “And He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (v12). Maybe it was then he looked at the eunuch and said, “I am one of those transgressors, and so are you. You see, He gave His life on that cross to heal sinful man. This is the One whom you are reading about.” Who is He? He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. His name is Jesus Christ.