THE CONSECRATED LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST.
Acts of Apostles 8:30–31, “Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. « Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come and sit with him.”
Perhaps, at times, you also ask, “How can I understand?” Sometimes we need help on scripture matters. Consider, for example, what the Ethiopian is reading from the book of Isaiah 53. Acts 8:32-33, “The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.”
The eunuch is reading from the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. Isaiah foretells the success and glory of God’s special « servant » Isaiah 52:13, “See, my servant will act wisely, he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.”
Yet Isaiah 53 then describes in great detail the servant’s horrible death. “His life was taken from the earth” Acts 8:33, “In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.” Isaiah 53:8, “By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.” The surprises continue. Isaiah’s prophecy then foretells the servant’s pleasure in the results of His death. Isaiah 53:11, “After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.”
The Servant Himself is innocent and pure verse 9. Why should He take our sins on Himself? Verse 10 says “The Lord makes His life a guilt offering.” This wording is truly remarkable since Isaiah followed the Law of Moses. In that Law, the term “guilt offering” always applied to flawless animals killed for people’s sins. God hated the sacrificing of humans. Yet, by God’s power, Isaiah foresaw a human as the “guilt offering”! God would sacrifice His Servant to rescue “us all” from our sins.
When Philip and the Ethiopian meet, it has not been long since Jesus died in great pain on a cross. Yet Philip has Good News about Jesus. This is all about Jesus, not about religious ideas or regulations.
Isaiah foretold the birth of a Son who would rightfully be called “God” Isaiah 43:10–11, “You are my witnesses.” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am He. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.” Isaiah 44:6, “This is what the Lord says: - Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. » Isaiah 9:6–7, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” After Jesus died and then returned to life, as seen and reported by many witnesses. Jesus showed how the Old Testament prophecies had come true. Luke 24:44–47, “He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms” Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
Now, we all can enjoy “forgiveness » because Jesus suffered the punishment we deserved. Our sins condemned us. They separated us from God and killed us spiritually. When Jesus gave His life on the cross, He took our place. Now the Father gives to us the gift of His Son’s own purity and goodness. 2nd Corinthians 5:21, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” Christ’s return from death proves the truth of His Good News. 1st Corinthians 15:2–4, “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” John 11:25–26, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies: and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Jesus lives today. He calls you to share His death, burial and resurrection by baptism. The result is that you are « raised with Him through your faith” Colossians 2:12, “Having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God, who raised Him from the dead.”
God bless till we see next week