“This was the passage of scripture he was reading: Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent so he didn’t open his mouth. In his humiliation justice was taken away from him. Who can tell the story of his descendants because his life was taken from the earth?”
Acts 8:32-33 (CEB)
“Those who exploit the powerless anger their maker, while those who are kind to the poor honor God.”
Proverbs 14:31 (CEB)
God expects us to speak up for those who have no voice. There are countless poor people who don’t have anyone to speak up for them. Whether it’s victims of police brutality, the poor children who have no money in the city budget, or those struggling to make ends meet without a living wage we owe it to them to help them get justice.
The apostle Phillip was led by the Holy Spirit to minister to a eunuch from Ethiopia. A eunuch was a man that had been castrated for the purpose of being an indentured servant for the queen. You could say justice was taken from him. He was successful as a treasurer to the queen but he would never have his own seed because that had been cut off through injustice.
Ironically he’s reading the book of Isaiah where it prophesies about Jesus who too would be denied justice.
- Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter. Jesus became our sacrificial lamb to die for our sins. What was unjust is that the leaders had to lie on him to execute him. How many innocent men and women have been pushed through corrupt criminal justice systems just to satisfy a quota? For every murderer taken to jail there’s an innocent Jesus who deserved better.
- He didn’t open his mouth. It wasn’t that Jesus couldn’t open his mouth, he chose not to because it was his Father’s will that he would take our place on executioners row.
- Our job is to explain to those denied justice what’s going on. The church’s job is to prevent anymore innocent people from dying by opening our mouth, crying loud, and sparing not. Phillip asked the eunuch if he knew what he was reading. The man replied, “How can I unless someone explains it to me?” We have a newly formed organization in Memphis called MICAH (Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope) that helps bring voice to injustice and resolve the issues we face in our city. You too could help us by joining the fight at MICAHMemphis.org.
In his humiliation justice was taken from him. Phillip went on to explain how Jesus overcame injustice when God raised him from the dead. Phillip was an eyewitness to that resurrection and that day he liberated a eunuch with the Gospel.
The Gospel is doing the work of social justice. It was Jesus who also read from the book of Isaiah when he preached his purpose for being on earth and it is our purpose as well. These are Jesus’ words in Luke 4:16:
God’s Spirit is on me; he’s chosen me to preach the message of good news to the poor, Sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, To set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”
In Jesus’ Name,