August 10, 2015
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
Some Other Man
“Of whom speaketh the prophet this? Of himself or of some other Man?”
With what joy Philip must have begun to tell him about the “some other man,” a Man totally unlike any man who had ever lived. Here was the only Man Who lived as God intended man to live. Here was a perfectly dependent and lowly Man. Here was the only One Who ever trusted God with all His heart.
The Ethiopian must have wondered as he read Isaiah who this man could be. Everything about Him was so “unnatural” and unlike anything he had seen.
The verses that the Ethiopian man read must have amazed him. Little wonder that he asked if the prophet was the subject of the verses or if some other man was the one of whom they spoke. Here was a man Who not only suffered, but did so in a totally unexpected manner. The verses from Isaiah 53 which he read tell us of —-
His Submission: “He was led.” No dragging or coercing of the victim to the cross; He went willingly. He was submissive to all that men would heap on Him. He was led, however, by something greater and more compelling than the direction of men. The One Who said on coming into the world, “I come to do Thy will, O God” (Heb 10:7), was being led by the will of God and not the weapons of men.
The Slaughter: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter.” Calvary was likened to a slaughter. We normally reserve the term for a battle in which one side totally decimates the other opponent without mercy. At Calvary, men did whatever they wished to the Son of God. He was “crucified through (apparent) weakness” (2 Cor 13:4), not employing His inherent strength for Himself. He spoke prophetically of God being His strength (Ps 22:19), eschewing all taunts to save Himself. The awfulness of His suffering is suggested by the use of the word “Slaughter.”
His Silence: “He opened not His mouth.” No word of complaint, no remonstrance of bitterness, no threats of retaliation, and no words of self-pity were expressed at Golgotha. He suffered in silence. It was not the silence of stoical resignation or of controlled bitterness. It was a silence borne from total surrender to God’s will – a silence both of meekness and majesty.
His Shame – “In His humiliation…” While it is eminently true, that “He humbled Himself,” the corresponding truth is that men heaped humiliation upon Him. Here, it is linked with the injustice of His trial. How would that be humiliating? Perhaps that no one stepped forward in His defense; that no voice was raised pointing to the miscarriage; that He was so despised that all, Jew and Roman, were glad to be rid of Him.
The Severity – “His life was taken.” With an economy of words yet with a wealth of meaning, we are told that He was “cut off” (Isa 53:8). Men sought to rid themselves of this unnecessary burden, this appendage that was gangrenous, this unclean part that had to be removed. With violent intent and barbarous malice, they cut off the Son of God; they took His life. The life giver had His own life taken by men!
Little wonder the Ethiopian asked, “Some other man?”
The quotation is from the Septuagint and reverses sheep and lamb in verse 32. Do you have any suggestions for why this is so?