Philip ran over and heard the [treasurer of Ethiopia] reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?"
The man replied, "How can I, unless someone instructs me?" And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.
The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this:
He was led like a sheep to the slaughter.
And as a lamb is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
He was humiliated and received no justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.
— Acts 8:30-33 NLT
The Holy Spirit inspired the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and the words of the prophets (2 Peter 1:20-21), the Lord opens people's hearts (Acts 16:14), and the Spirit convicts them of their need for Jesus (John 16:7-10). The treasurer from Ethiopia read from the scroll of Isaiah — Isaiah 53:7-8 in our Bibles. This passage is part of one of Isaiah's "Servant Songs"!* The message tugged at the Ethiopian's heart. He longed to know about this servant of God who was prophesied and whose identity was foretold in Isaiah's prophecies. The risen Christ revealed the meaning of these specific Scriptures to his closest disciples after his resurrection (Luke 24:44-49). The followers of Jesus realized that their Lord's identity was best understood through the lens of God's "Suffering Servant." As described in the verses following today's passage, Philip was able to reveal this "Suffering Servant" to the Ethiopian man seeking God's truth. While Jesus' path to the cross was a shock to those who expected a Messiah who would conquer militarily rather than one who would conquer sin and death, Isaiah had revealed centuries before that the Messiah would give his life as a sacrifice for God's chosen people and the lost of every nation.
O Father, I am amazed and humbled that your plan for Jesus, the Messiah, was revealed through your servant Isaiah centuries before Jesus' coming. I thank you for these "Servant Songs" and what they reveal about your willingness to redeem us and carry away our sin at your cost. Thank you, God, as Father and Son and Spirit, for bearing the weight of my sin and the incredible cost of the incarnation and crucifixion of Christ Jesus. Thank you! Amen.