Acts 8:32

Medal of Honor heroes from WWII, state Capitol, Texas.

Thursday, 7 July 2022

The place in the Scripture which he read was this:
“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
Acts 8:32

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

It was seen that the Ethiopian eunuch did not understand what he was reading, and he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. Now, Luke’s next words begin with, “The place in the Scripture which he read was this.”

The verb is imperfect and should read, “The place in the Scripture which he was reading was this.” The word translated as “place” is only found here in the Bible, perioché. It signifies the contents of a passage. Today, we might say, “the chapter of Isaiah,” or something similar. This allows us to know the section, portion, or particular area that is specifically set apart in one way or another. With Philip next to him, the reading from Isaiah in the particular section is cited –

“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.”

This section is Isaiah 53. The exact verses are 7 and 8. The words of this verse in Acts are from the Greek translation of Isaiah 53:7. Everything in the chapter was clearly understood to be a reference to the coming Messiah. Only after Christ came and fulfilled the words so perfectly did the leaders of Israel decide to obscure or change the intent from this messianic understanding.

As for the content, the words, “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter,” signify willing compliance and even innocence as if it is the right thing to do. In essence, “This is where My Master is leading Me, and so I will not question His direction.”

The next words, “And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,” indicate the calm nature of the lamb. It will not resist the master’s manipulation of its body as its hair is cut away. Likewise, Christ did not resist as He was mocked, beaten, scourged, and crucified. He willingly submitted Himself to those appointed over Him and to the will of the Father who had sent Him.

And the words, “So He opened not His mouth,” highlight His submission even more. Not only did He not struggle against the physical attacks that He suffered, but He silently endured those things as well, even when false accusations had been leveled against Him. As it says, for example, in Matthew 27 –

“Then Pilate said to Him, ‘Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?’ 14 But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.” Matthew 27:13, 14

In all ways, He perfectly fulfilled the prophecy that anticipated His actions.

Life application: For the most part, Isaiah 53 is wholly unknown to the Jewish people. It is not read in the synagogue, and it is quickly dismissed as a metaphor for Israel if someone questions its meaning. However, almost all Jews know that the basis for their national identity goes back to the Old Testament Scriptures, even if they don’t have an idea of what they say. And most Jewish people know that these Scriptures go back to antiquity.

Further, there are certain names in Scripture that are well known and recognized, such as Moses, David, and Isaiah. Because this is true, using the words of Isaiah without identifying who wrote them is actually a good way of evangelizing Jews. If you ask a Jew, “Can I read you something and you tell me who it is talking about?”, most people will say, “Sure.” We all love to prove how smart we are.

And so, if you read Isaiah 52:12-53:13 out loud to a Jew, almost always they will say, “That is speaking about Jesus.” It would be the exception to not hear this reply. Almost all Jews know the record of what Jesus did.

After asking them who is being described, and after hearing their reply as “Jesus,” only then would you identify who has written it, meaning Isaiah. This will cause an immediate disconnect in their previous understanding of what is going on. They know Isaiah is from their own Scriptures. They know that Isaiah predates the coming of Jesus, and they know that the words they have heard describe Jesus. With this now facing them, a wall has been broken down. From there, a more complete description of Jesus can be given and a more perfect explanation of how He fulfills all of Scripture can be presented.

Be sure to use this means of evangelism if the opportunity comes up. Jews need Jesus just as do all other people. Take advantage of what God has presented in Scripture to bring them to an understanding and appreciation of who He is and what His gospel message means.

Lord God, help us to competently and carefully present Your word to those who need to hear it. May we be ready at all times to share it with others. You have carefully provided all we need to bring people to a proper understanding of what Jesus means to them and to their relationship with You. So, help us to use it! To Your glory, we pray. Amen.