“Who His own bare our sins in His own body on the tree,
That we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness;
By whose stripes ye wee healed.
For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now retuned
Unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”
1 Peter 2: 24-25.
This wonderful passage is a part of Peter’s address to servants; and in his day nearly all servant were slaves. Peter begins at the eighteenth verse.
“Servants, be subject to your master with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the forward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well and suffer for it, ye shall take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps: who did not sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: who, when He was reviled, reviled not again: when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously; who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
If we are in a lowly condition of live, we shall find out best comfort in thinking of the lowly Savour bearing our sins in all patience and submission. If we are called to suffer, as servants often were in the Roman times, we shall be solaced by a vision of out Lord buffeted, scourged and crucified, yet silent in the majesty of His endurance. If these sufferings are entirely undeserved, and we are grossly slandered, we shall be comforted by remembering Him who did not sin, and in whose lips was found no guile. Our Lord Jesus is Head of the Guild of Sufferers:
He did well, and suffered for it, but took it patiently. Our support under the cross, which we are appointed to bear, is only to be found in Him “ who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.
We ourselves now know by experience that there is no place for comfort like the cross. It is a tree stripped of all foliage and apparently dead:; yet we sit under its shadow with great delight and its fruit is sweet unto our taste. Truly, in this case, “like cures like.” By the suffering of our Lord Jesus, our suffering is made light.
The servant is comforted since Jesus took upon Himself the form of a servant; the suffered is cheered “because Christ also suffered for us;” and the slandered one is strengthened because Jesus also was reviled.
Is it not strange, the darkest hour
That ever dawned on sinful earth.
Should touch the heart with softer power
For comfort than an angel’s mirth?
That to the cross the mourner’s eye should turn.
Sooner than where the stars of Christmas burn.?”
Let us, as we hope to pass through the tribulations of this world stand fast by the cross; for if that be gone, the lone-star is quenched whose light cheers the down-trodden, shines on the injure and bring light to the oppressed. If we lose the cross, if we miss the substitutionary sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have lost all.
The verse on which we would now devoutly meditate speaks of three things: the bearing of our sins, the changing of our condition and the healing of our spiritual diseases. Each of these deserves our most careful notice.
The first is, THE BEARING OF OUR SINS by our Lord; “Who His own
self-bare our sins in His own body on the tree.” These words in plainest
terms assert that our Lord Jesus did really bear the sins of His people.
How literal is the language! Words mean nothing if substitution is not
stated here. I do not know the meaning of the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah
if this not its meaning. Hear the prophet’s words: “The Lord hath laid on
Him the iniquity of us all;” “for the transgression of my people was He
stricken;” “He shall bear their iniquities;” “He was numbered with the
transgressor and He bare the sin of many.”
I cannot imagine that the Holy Spirit would have used language so
expensive if He had not intended to teach us that our Saviour did really
bear our sins and suffer in our stead. What also can be intended by
texts like these. “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many”
Hebrews 9:28. “He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;
that we might be made the righteousness of God in. 2 Corinthians 5: 21.