“24 ‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’ 25 For ‘you were like sheep going astray,’ but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” NIV
In writing to slaves about how to bear with unjust treatment, Peter, as we have seen, points to the example of Jesus. The Lord didn’t retaliate, but prayed. He ‘’entrusted himself to him who judges justly’’ (v.23b).
But Christ is not just our pattern; He is also our Saviour, and there is such a wonderful theology of the cross packed into these two verses. You don’t have to think about them for long to hear echoes of Isaiah 53: a remarkable prophecy about the death of the Messiah given some 500 years before Jesus appeared.(In fact, this also also applies to the whole section from v21-v.25).
Note a number of things:
- ‘’He himself…’’ Jesus did not delegate the saving of the world to an angel or some other ambassador. God Himself came in His Son.
- In order to enter into the benefits of what Jesus did for you when He died, you have to repent (v.24b). You have to do an about turn. This is spoken of as dying ‘’to sins’’ and living ‘’for righteousness’’. It’s a complete U-turn;
- God is often spoken of in the Old Testament as Israel’s Shepherd, and Jesus (God in human form), said, ‘’I am the good shepherd.’’ We are so lost and discontented and frustrated as human beings because we are ‘’astray’’ from our ‘’Shepherd’’. But there is a way back to Him through the Cross. Salvation involves turning from sin (v.24b) and turning to God (v.25)
‘’But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.’’ (Isaiah 53:5,6).
PRAYER: Lord, the world is wounded. May we look to you, and your cross, for our healing.