THE LAMB OF GOD
Isaiah 53:7: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opens not his mouth.”
When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming to him, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).”
Jesus bore our sins in order to take them away, not to leave us in our sin. Jesus did not simply want to remit the penalty of sin but he was determined to conquer sin itself. He had a large vision not simply to deliver Jews from the bondage of sin but to set free the world from the dominion of sin.
The Ethiopian Eunuch was reading from this verse when he was confronted by Philip the Evangelist, who asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
Then Philip from the same scripture preached Jesus to the Eunuch, who was subsequently baptized. The Ethiopian represents the first Gentile convert, who likely then took the gospel to Africa. This conversion story should remove any doubt that Isaiah’s prophesy is about Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
Isaiah 53:8: “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.”
The Ethiopian Eunuch was also reading Isaiah 53:8 when Philip expounded to him on the identity of the one spoken about in the verse. The author of the Book of Acts paraphrases the first part of this sentence in a clearer manner, “In his humiliation his justice was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth (Acts 8:33).” Jesus was deprived of justice in a mock trial. After Pilate interrogates Jesus, the Roman prelate declares, “I find no fault in this man (Luke 23:4).”
“Who shall declare his generation?” Isaiah is likely asking, “Who shall defend Messiah against all his false accusers?” Judas had already betrayed him; Peter had denied him. And Pilate finally, if reluctantly, condemned him.
“Who shall proclaim his great work of salvation?” When the Roman centurion saw Jesus cry out, and give up the ghost, he declared, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” A Gentile saw what the Jews refused to see.
The Jews were expecting a triumphant Messiah, who would free them from the despotism of Rome. They did not understand Isaiah’s prophesy that the Messiah would be “cut off from the land of the living.” Daniel has also affirmed “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself (Daniel 9:26).” He will be put to death for the transgression of the Jewish people, which was largely their failure to be a light unto the Gentiles and their exultation of their rites and rituals over the Moral Law of God.
Who could believe the report that the Messiah would be of humble origins without the regalia of a king; that he would be hated and rejected; that he would be grieving and sorrowful; that he would be wounded, crushed and put to death? In the self-righteous Jewish mind set the Messiah could not be slaughtered for the sins of the people. Jews were God’s chosen people; the heathen Gentiles were the sinners. No marvel that Isaiah cries, “Who hath believed our report?” Such a report of love and sacrifice is incredible to self-centered people.
Our Lord’s humiliation begins with his Incarnation. He leaves the glories and majesties of Heaven to make himself of no reputation and takes upon himself the form of a servant and is made in the likeness of sinful flesh. Finally he became obedient unto the death of the cross (Phil 2:7-8, Rom 8:3).
On the cross Jesus offers himself to men, to God and even to the devil. He did not offer himself to God to appease his wrath. Instead, Jesus presents himself as a sin-offering to God in order that God may profoundly demonstrate to the world the ugly results of sin, which always brings suffering and death. He gives himself over to the Jews to placate their hatred against the heavenly father and to reconcile all men to God by his marvelous demonstration of humility and sacrifice.
Jesus deals himself to Satan as a ransom for the souls he has held in captivity. How does Jesus offer himself to the devil? Jesus challenges the Evil One to give him his best shot, which is the gunpowder of hatred. All of Hell attacks Jesus but he steadfastly fends off all the demonic hoards. Jesus demonstrates that love is stronger fire power than hatred. Love ultimately overcomes all of Satan’s selfishness and malice. Jesus shows to men and angels that love wins.