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Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled By Jesus Christ

Chapter One

The Humiliation of Jesus Christ

Prophecy - Isaiah 53:7-8
Fulfillment - Acts 8:32-33

Isaiah chapter 53 is an interesting passage, which gives important and valuable details about the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the purpose of our study we will consider only two of the twelve verses of that chapter. Of course, you are encouraged to read and study the entire chapter. The reason we limit our study to verses seven and eight is because they are specifically mentioned in the New Testament passage cited above from Acts. Compare the above verses and their connection can be easily seen.

When the angel of God sent Philip into the desert, the Spirit of God directed him to a man from Ethiopia. The eunuch was riding in a chariot and during the trip he was reading from the prophecy of Isaiah. The specific passage he considered was Isaiah 53:7-8. He could not understand the person of whom Isaiah had written. Was he writing “of himself or of some other man?” (Acts 8:34). Clearly, the Ethiopian eunuch wanted to understand the identity of the person of whom Isaiah wrote. Since the prophecy was not clear to him, God sent Philip to unravel the mystery.

For us, there can be no doubt about the One of whom Isaiah wrote. Acts 8:35 says, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” Not only was Isaiah not speaking of himself but he was in fact prophesying of Jesus, Who would come to this earth hundreds of years later. Since Philip declared God’s truth, it pleased God to preserve it as part of the Holy Scriptures. Therefore, by Divine revelation we understand those memorable words of Isaiah to be about our dear Saviour and God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

In our exploration of the verses under consideration, we will consider a variety of facts about our Saviour. The first of these is that Isaiah foretold the sufferings of Christ. Unpleasant as it may be for us to think about the events that surrounded His death, it is necessary that we look at them. Think about it, why did God record those horrible events? Apparently, so that saints throughout the ages might be reminded of the enormous price Jesus paid for our redemption. Isaiah said, “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 openeth not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). Since we will consider “The Silence of the Saviour, ” in a later chapter, we will not devote much time to it now. Instead, we will focus on His sufferings and identity, as “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29 & 36).

Isaiah presented Christ as a “lamb” and a “sheep.” He described some rather common occurrences in that day and used them to teach us about God’s Holy Son. He called our attention to the fact that during the slaughter of lambs and the shearing of sheep, they did not cry out. Because people could easily understand that fact, he hastened to say that Jesus would also be silent during His sufferings at the hands of men.

The sufferings of our dear Lord were many and varied. Though He had done no wrong, He was brutally beaten (John 19:1). We are told that Jesus was mocked by men as they placed a crown of thorns upon His head (John 19:2-3). He was also falsely accused of men (John 19:9-10). At last, they nailed Him to a cross and watched as He suffered, bled and died for our sins (John 19:16-30). No wonder Peter wrote, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (I Peter 3:18).

All those terrible injustices were part of the humiliation of Jesus. Though the wording is slightly different from the account of Isaiah, Acts 8:33 states, “In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.” Isaiah said, “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” (Isaiah 53:8). Can there be any doubt that both writers are describing the same Person and chain of events? Admittedly, Isaiah did not use the word “humiliation,” but he certainly was describing it.

The word “humiliation” here means lowliness, so it conveys the idea of the humanity of Christ. It was about Christ Who is God, becoming the God-man in order to die for the sins of His elect. It serves to remind us that Christ condescended and became lower than the angels. Hebrews 2:9 reads, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” As the eternal God He could not die, so He took a body of flesh, which was apparently the message Philip shared with the eunuch. Paul certainly preached about the humanity and humility of Jesus, for he said, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8). Thank God, Jesus was willing to become lower than angels and that He was made in the likeness of our humanity, “yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

None of us can possibly imagine the fullness of His humiliation. It was more than being unjustly imprisoned or falsely condemned. Jesus Christ is verily God (John 1:1-2) “manifest in the flesh” (I Timothy 3:16). Being Divine, He, Who ever lives, lowered Himself to live in the body of a baby that needed daily provision and care by others. The scriptures tell us, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Galatians 4:4). What humiliation! Yet we are told that a far more difficult circumstance was to follow.

While in the flesh, He took our sins. Paul said that Christ was made “to be sin for us” (II Corinthians 5:21). Peter said, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (I Peter 2:24). What a terrible experience it must have been for our Lord. In all His eternal existence Jesus Christ had never known the guilt of sin, until His humiliation. Oh, the wonders of His love and grace!

The humiliation of Christ ended with His death. Because “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) Jesus died on the cross for sinners. Remember that Isaiah 53:8 said, “. . . for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.” In Acts 8:33 we read, “his life is taken from the earth.” He is the glorious God of all the ages and yet He was willing to come to earth and lay down His life. Paul felt the message of His death to be of utmost importance. He wrote, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3). Paul took the death of Christ very personally for he said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Christ fulfilled the ancient prophecies and today our hope of eternal life and heaven, rests upon Jesus and His redemptive work alone. Acts 4:12 says, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

It should be pointed out that Isaiah spoke in the past tense, as though the events of which he spoke had already happened. It was in fact planned by God before the foundation of the world. In Revelation 13:8, John speaks of Christ as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” As a sovereign God, His decrees and purposes are as certain as if they had already happened. Our heavenly Father gave His servant Isaiah a prophecy of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. It was fulfilled just as God decreed; and Philip affirmed that Isaiah spoke of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour.

Let us rejoice always because we are the recipients of God’s grace through Jesus Christ. May saints of all ages worship and praise God, our heavenly Father, and the living, incarnate Word - Jesus Christ. John said of Him, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). If He saved you, then serve Him. If He died for you, then live for Him. He is worthy of our praise. May Jesus Christ be glorified forever and ever. Amen.

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This page last updated on November 1, 2015