Thoughts About What We’re Reading…
One of my favorite books in the Bible is the Book of Acts. Why am I blogging on Acts Chapter 8 when we are reading through the Old Testament, specifically Isaiah?
Because here in Acts 8, we have mention of one the most beautiful chapters in the Bible – Isaiah 53!
Isaiah 53 has been described by Spurgeon as the “Bible in miniature and the gospel in essence.”
This chapter is probably the best-known section in Isaiah and the most frequently quoted Old Testament chapter in the New Testament.
It is one of the richest and most unmistakable prophecies in the entire Old Testament concerning the suffering, rejection and atoning work of the Servant, whom we know to be Jesus.
John Piper once said in a sermon, “Nowhere in all the Old Testament does the gospel of Jesus Christ shine more clearly than in Isaiah 53. Seven hundred years before Jesus came into the world, God opened the eyes of his prophet to see into the very heart of Christ’s saving work.”
Piper goes on to say, “Christ not only died for sinners so that we could be saved, he died for sinners in fulfillment of explicit prophecy so that we could know more surely that we are saved. When you read the story of your salvation in detail seven hundred years before it happened, you have not only revelation, but validation.”
With the advent of the finding of the Isaiah Scroll, (one of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls), in the Qumran caves in the Judean desert of Israel; we know for certain that the document pre-dates Jesus Christ.
Someone once said about the archeological evidence of scripture, “Not that we need it but it’s nice to have.” Actually, I think it was my tour guide in Israel…
And here with the Isaiah Scroll found in that desert in the 1940’s-1950’s, we have a copy of Isaiah that pre-dates Christ.
Acts Chapter 8 describes how God moved Philip to share the good news with an Ethiopian eunuch traveling in a chariot. Philip comes upon the eunuch and finds him reading scripture.
So Philip asked the eunuch if he understood what he was reading. The eunuch responds with the famously quoted passage, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” Acts 8:31
With that response Philip sees he is reading – you guessed it – Isaiah 53 and proceeds to tell the eunuch the good news about Jesus Christ and His saving work on the cross.
At times, God uses us to simply point others to Christ, to share how He died for us that we might have life and live in a restored relationship with our God.
I have used Isaiah 53 myself to point others to Christ. I want to challenge you to try it out with folks you know, maybe your 8-15 or others from work, school, clubs, associations or other places you frequent.
Simply read Isaiah 53 aloud to them (some folks start with Isaiah 52:13-through Isaiah 53). When you are finished, simply ask them who is described in that chapter.
They will respond more times than not that it is Jesus. Then tell them what you are reading was written 700 years before Christ and watch their reaction.
Then maybe, just maybe, Our Lord and Savior, through the work of the Holy Spirit, will use you, as He used Philip, to bring another soul into the kingdom.
Until next time… keep reading!