“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,
so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;
by his wounds you have been healed”
(1 Peter 2:24)
When Jesus first taught His disciples that He must suffer and die it was Peter who, having just acknowledged Him as the Messiah, disputed with Him. He could not get his mind around the idea of a suffering Messiah. Now that same Peter, ‘contradicting his own contradiction’, focuses on that suffering.
He and others are quite clear about this.
- “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24)
- “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us” ( 2 Corinthians 5:21)
- “He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself” (Hebrews 7:27)
- “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18)
Normally it is the one who offends who is guilty and bears the penalty. However here, through His great love, God has provided a substitute – One who takes into Himself and upon Himself, both the guilt and the sentence, ’for the wages of sin is death.’ (Romans 6:23)
What is more He did not die only to secure our forgiveness but, as Peter goes on to say, He died to secure for us our holiness as well. Through faith in Him we are set free from our sin, relieved of the spiritual penalty, adopted by God as His children, and given a righteousness before God that we could never have otherwise achieved.
This all happened ‘through his wounds’, the wounds that brought about His death. For the Cross is not a small piece of attractive jewellery. It is forever a large, rough, wooden instrument of vicious and vile death. And this Cross is forever stained with the precious blood of the glorious Son of God – blood from the torn flesh on His back, blood from His hands and feet, and blood from the cruel crown whose thorns had been pressed deeply into His head.
Here was the body and blood of which He had spoken at the Last supper. The body that bore the punishment and the blood that washed away the sins of the world. There is no Christianity without the Cross.
On that Cross He died for me …. and for ‘you’
‘Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
save in the death of Christ, my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them through his blood.’