Understandest Thou what thou Readest? (Part 1)
Two thousand years ago a man who was seeking for God was reading in the 53rd chapter of the book of Isaiah. God sent another man to preach Jesus to him out of this same Old Testament passage:
“And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.”
Today, I am going to preach unto you Jesus from the 53rd chapter of the book of Isaiah also.
“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?”
This “report” is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Who had believed it in Isaiah’s day? Sadly, not many. Who has believed it today? Once again, sadly, not many. Praise God that some want to hear God’s word!
The “arm” that Isaiah is speaking of here is God’s power. To whom has this power been revealed?
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
(I Corinthians 1:18)
You see, the Gospel of Christ makes no sense to those who are not interested in the fact that God died, was buried, and rose again for them. Someone might say: “Why would God die for me? I don’t think I’m so bad that God would have to do this for me. Let the murderer, thief, or the adulterer find comfort here. I am not like that. Besides that, we are educated and enlightened today: this Gospel seems so primitive.”
Let us hear what God says:
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:”
(II Corinthians 5:14)
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
Do you see yourself included in God’s “all”? If not, then the Gospel will mean nothing to you personally. You see, whatever kind of sin you and I are guilty of, God says we are included in this “all”.
“For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”
The spiritual “ground” at the time of Christ’s birth was “dry”. The spiritual leaders were substituting men’s traditions for God’s word. They were taking advantage of the poor and the helpless. Jesus was the root that miraculously sprung out of this dry spiritual “ground”.
“And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.”
As for any earthly appeal, Jesus had none on the cross. There was nothing pleasant about his appearance that would draw you or me to him. His physical appearance astonished those who saw him.
“As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:”
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
The suffering that Jesus endured for you was emotional as well as physical. We read of this in the following verses:
“They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.”
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”
We would do well to remember that it was God’s chosen people (his children) who were among those who cried out for his death. How would you feel if your own child whom you loved with all of your heart turned his back on you, cried out for your torment and death, considered this God’s justice for you, and mocked you while you died?
“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
My friend, he voluntarily suffered all of this and more for your sins and mine. The penalty that was required to pay for your sin was this great. He chose to suffer instead of you because he loved you that much. Please don’t miss this.
Understandest thou what thou readest?