When considered within the scope of both testaments of Scripture, it clearly refers to Christ–something we would know even if we didn’t have Philip’s conversation with the Ethiopian Eunuch, a man who was confused by his reading of Isaiah 53. Luke tells us that Philip began with our text and “told him the good news about Jesus” (Acts 8:35).
Perhaps the most obvious way this text reaches us is by teaching us again about Christ’s substitutionary death. Notice how many times Isaiah uses phrases like “he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” . . . “he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities,” and so on.
The text forces us to remember again all that he went through. For me. For you.
But there’s another connection that I look forward to sharing with the church Sunday morning, Lord willing. Some verbal similarities suggest that Paul had this passage in mind when he wrote Philippians 2:1-11 (“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, . . .”).
The cross is more than just something that Christ did “for us.” It is an attitude that ought to fill our hearts, leading us to live out its principles “for others.” Jesus became a Suffering Servant for us so that we could learn to exhibit the same attitude for others. Just as he was abused, we will be mistreated. Just as the world disregarded him, so it will sometimes mock and scorn us. Just as Jesus received no immediate glory for what he did, our serving the world will usually be met with ignorance.
But Jesus suffered anyway, because he knew what it would accomplish long-term–a lesson we must learn as well.
So this beautiful text challenges us to be grateful for what Jesus did, but it also leads us to follow in the Servant’s footsteps.