Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch – The Savior’s Humiliation

Acts 8:32 begins with the phrase, “Now the passage of Scripture that he [the Ethiopian Eunuch]was reading was this”.  Luke now begins to quote Isaiah 53:7-8.  The passage in this chapter is word-for-word from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, and it varies very little from the Hebrew text.

Luke quotes, “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter” (v32).  The Messiah would be led by others to His death.  That was certainly true of Jesus.  He continues, “and like a lamb before its shearers is silent, so he opens not his mouth” (v32).  We remember from Isaiah 53 that these metaphors of a sheep and a lamb is a picture of the Savior’s meekness and submission to His Father’s will and crushing.  He was led to His death like a sheep, with no resistance.  Like a lamb being sheared, so He was stripped of His dignity without complaining or reviling His oppressors.

Luke continues in verse 33 by quoting Isaiah 53:8, “In his humiliation justice was denied him.”  The Hebrew reads, “By oppression and judgment He was taken away“.  We don’t know why the Greek reads this way, but we can see that they are not dramatically different in meaning, and they are certainly both true.  When He was oppressed, when He was judged by men, when He was taken away, He was humiliated and justice was denied Him.

When we think of humiliation, we often think about embarrassment.  But that’s not the meaning of the word here.  The Greek word translated “humiliation” means “lowness, low estate”.  The meaning here is not that the Savior was embarrassed, but that He was brought low.  So, in this sense, in what ways was the Savior humiliated?

1. He left His place of glory and took on a weak, human form.
2. He was born in a manger to a carpenter’s family.
3. He was looked upon by the Jewish leaders as a pest, and they despised Him.
4. On the night of His betrayal, He was bound and led away like a criminal, and all of His closest friends abandoned Him.
5. On the day of His death, He was beaten, spat upon, scourged.
6. When He was among the Roman soldiers, they mockingly dressed Him in their clothes, forced a crown of thorns on His head, put a reed in His hand, and mockingly bowed before Him as the King of the Jews.
7. He endured the Father’s wrath in being treated as sin itself.
8. He was crucified with criminals and placed in a tomb.

It was to this life and death that the Savior left His place of glory and came to rescue sinners like you and me.  The Creator of the Universe, perfectly self-sufficient, perfectly holy, expressed His love to those who were most ill-deserving by taking on the wrath that we deserved for our sins.  O, what a Savior we have!

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