We can’t live the Christian life without Christ. To help us remember that very important truth, the letters of the New Testament constantly talk about what God has done for us through Jesus, especially His death on the cross for our sins. Even in sections of the epistles where we are being given commands about how we should live now that we’ve received Christ, the writers will often pause their exhortations to refer again to that salvation that God has already provided for us. Paul, Peter, and John never stray far from Christ crucified and risen from the dead as the one and only source of our salvation.
That’s why, right after telling us in verses 13-23 to follow in Christ’s steps by submitting to our authorities and suffering patiently for what is right, Peter takes us back again to the why and the how: Jesus took our sins onto Himself upon the cross. We all had wandered away from God like lost sheep, chasing after our idols and sins. But Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins, to take their burden from our souls and bring us back to our heavenly Shepherd. When can never spend too much time reflecting on Jesus’ death for us. Any time we feel overburdened with the commands of Scripture, we can lift our eyes again to the cross. When we struggle with sin and feel out of fellowship with God, we can remember Christ’s words from Calvary about the salvation that He has already accomplished for us: “It is finished” (John 19:30). God has already won the war for our souls; He will be faithful to carry us through the daily battles, too.
The Text (1 Peter 2:24-25)
24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Background and Observations
• The Greek word choice and grammar in verse 24 convey the idea that Jesus carried our sins all the way onto the cross and then left them there once He died and gave up His spirit. Our sin is no longer on Jesus – He has paid the price once and for all. When Jesus rose from the dead, our sin had been wiped out by His blood. He rose in total victory and now sits again in perfect righteousness beside the Father in heaven.
• Peter was clearly thinking about Isaiah 53, especially verse 5 (“by His stripes we are healed”), as he wrote today’s verses. Isaiah 53 is a messianic passage from the Old Testament, which means that it contains prophecies about Jesus. Hundreds of years before Jesus actually died on the cross, Isaiah was moved by the Holy Spirit to write about the Christ who suffered for our sins.
• As verse 24 reminds us, Jesus died to rescue us from the penalty and the power of sin. When you came to Christ for salvation, you did not just want to go to heaven and avoid hell. You also came to Him wanting to be free from the dominance that sin had on your life. When you first believed in Jesus and received the Holy Spirit, God put His power in you to resist temptation and live a godly life that pleases your Father in heaven.
Questions to Think About
1. Do you ever struggle with being too critical of yourself when it comes to your walk with Christ? How can today’s verses encourage you when you start to get too down on yourself?
2. In what ways did you feel like a “lost sheep” before coming to faith in Christ?
3. Can you think of some areas of your life where you have experienced Christ’s power in setting you free from slavery to sin?