What do you do with Jesus (1 Pet 2:21-25)


Ben Tellinghuisen - June 29, 2014

What do you do with Jesus (1 Pet 2:21-25)

2 Responses to Jesus that the World Must Learn Transcript: [?] You see, there are vast numbers of documents dating from the first and the second centuries spreading all over a wide range of geographical regions that prove beyond reasonable doubt that what is recorded in Scripture is accurate eye-witness testimony to exactly what Jesus said and did. No other ancient literature comes even close to what we have in the Bible. So, there is no reason to doubt the Word of God and when you encounter the Jesus of the Bible, you realize that He left us no option to see Him as a good teacher, a wise revolutionary, or some sage that produces enlightenment. C.S. Lewis wrote this in Mere Christianity: He said: I’m trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. So, there you have it. As famously has been stated, Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or is the Lord. And yet a majority of the people see Jesus as none of these three, don’t they? You ask somebody on the street, you ask your neighbor what they think of Jesus and they think that He is a ‘nice man’ and ultimately think that because they have never been confronted with the Jesus of the Bible. A celebrated scholar came to a seminary to read a paper, as is common practice in seminaries and academia, they address some finer minutia of some esoteric part of theology that at best seems to shed some minimal light on the person or work of Jesus. Well, this particular paper was very interesting, because the visiting professor, the visiting scholar, came and this is what he did: He began to recite a list of titles: ‘Messiah, Savior, Lord, Son of David, Son of Man, Son of God, Bright and Morning Star, The Rose of Sharyn, Emmanuel…’ and he continued like this for 30 to 40 minutes, reciting this litany of titles ascribed to Jesus in the New Testament. To the people there it was overwhelming. Brothers and sisters, too often we take lightly the idea of Jesus as Lord, the One lightly given a plethora of lordly titles. And if honest, most of us are lucky to name five of His titles. Just do it in your head real quick. But 30 or 40 minutes of titles for Jesus’ name is an immense weight of evidence that Jesus is the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. And if Jesus is truly Lord, then we must bow down to Him as Lord, give our lives to Him and serve Him and Him alone with our whole lives. We must turn from living for ourselves as lord and serve Him as Lord. This summary response to the gospel message is given by Jesus Himself in Mark 1:15, He says, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” And if you read through the gospels, you see Jesus say, “I am the prophesied Messiah, the Lord of Lords, God, very God. And as God, I know that every single one of you has a terrible problem; you are slaves to sin.” Every single one of us are slaves to sin. And he would say, “You are prideful. You are lustful. You are angry. You are liars at heart – all deserving of God’s eternal punishment.” And Jesus would also say, “I have come to save you from these sins and their terrible consequences, eternal punishment – but you must repent. You must turn from living for King You and believe that I am whom I say I am – the true King – that I came to die as a substitute for you, to take God’s wrath in your place so you can be forgiven of all your sins. You need to repent and believe, turn and trust.” These two responses are simultaneously the simplest and hardest of responses, aren’t they? It’s just two things, just two simple responses, but our hearts wage war against it every day. We don’t want to give up living for ourselves. We don’t want to submit ourselves to God to what He would have us do. And so what is rather simple, something that a child can do, and yet something that we will struggle with for our entire lives, but it’s the only response that saves. It’s the only way that we can have assurance of our eternal life. That is what the Lord of the universe requires, and that is what we must do. And so you can see these to focal points in our passage today. As Peter’s main point can be summarized in “repent and believe.” And these are the two hooks that we are going to hang our thoughts on this morning, two responses to Jesus that the whole world must learn if they want to be a Christian. And these are two responses that every Christian should know in their hearts and have responded to Jesus already. 2 Responses that the Whole World Must Learn First, we are to imitate Jesus or repent. And second, we are to cherish Jesus, both His work and His person, and trust and believe in Him in all that He says. Well, he sets it all up for us in verse 21. 21 is kind of an introduction to 22-25, so we’re going to look at this first before we get into our main points in the following verses. Well, Peter begins in verse 21, he says, “For to this you have called.” Now if you remember from a couple of weeks ago, we looked at the previous passage – remember, to what we’ve been called is talking about? “To this,” what’s the context talking about? It’s suffering. “To this,” this unjust suffering, this persecution you have been called. Let me recall your minds what he says in verses 18 and 19. He says, “Servants,” speaking of kind of workplace relationships with your boss, “Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing. It’s a gift to you, when mindful of God, that one endures sorrows when suffering unjustly.” So, submitting to your authority at work, even if there’s a great degree of injustice going on and a great degree of persecution going on, we need to be those who submit to the authorities that God puts in our lives even at work. And notice, it is this suffering to which we’ve been “called” according to verse 21, right? “For to this you have been called…” Look, we like it when God says that we’ve been called to receive the glories of salvation, that we’ve been called out of darkness into His precious light – we love that sort of calling. That’s what he says in chapter 2, verse 9, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into marvelous light.” We love that sort of calling, but we don’t love the fact that God has also called each and every one us to suffer. He’s called us to suffer. This is exactly what Peter is teaching here. And as terrible as it is to suffer with the very real emotional turmoil that accompanies rejection, that accompanies slander and abuse, we need to look at what Peter is saying and trust that God has called us, as Christians, to go through exactly what you and what I are going through at all times. That includes suffering. It’s all a part of God’s sovereign plan. Just as He has called us to glorification and to have a future reward, so too God has called you to suffer. He even calls it a gracious gift according to verse 19 – a wonderful thing that He gives you - as God often uses suffering to mold us into His image, right? To make us more like Christ. Now, of course suffering is to make us more holy is not what Jesus experienced, right? Because Jesus was holy, he was perfect, and yet Jesus suffered nonetheless. And so we see Jesus put forward as an example in verse 21, because Christ also suffered for you – “leaving you an example that you might follow Him.” Christ’s suffering wasn’t for His growth, He was perfect. Christ’s suffering was entirely for you. Your suffering in some sense then is more bearable. It’s how God is working in your life. It’s a good thing for you to have suffering and for Christ, well His suffering wasn’t for Him at all, it was for each and every one of us, that His enemies, totally undeserved sinners, those who are prideful, who are lustful, who are murderers at heart. This is central to the glorious gospel message that we believe. We cherish Jesus’ suffering on the cross for our behalf. We believe that Jesus literally died, that He rose again, bearing the weight of God’s punishment for each and every one of us and each and every one of our sins and giving us the blessed hope of a new and eternal life. This is what we believe and what we highlighted in our passage in 24 and 25, but simply believing these facts to be true and continuing to live with ‘King You’ on your throne is not the end of our response. God requires you to make King Jesus king of your life and to follow in His steps. That’s why he says at the end of 21, “He sent Christ, leaving you an example that you might follow in His steps.” The word ‘example’ is a rather interesting word here. It’s a word that is used in Greek literature to describe the letters that would be lightly written for school-age children to trace over when they’re learning how to write their letters. My son is in that stage right now, he’s learning to write his name and Leah will make little dotted lines to put his ‘e’ down and do that. When he first started doing that, it didn’t look like anything remotely close to an ‘e…’ [He had] no control over his pencil and [would] make a long line here. It didn’t look like anything, he wasn’t even coming close to following that line and in little by little over time, he’s getting more and more control and he’s able to follow that line. He’s far from perfect, he still has some of his shapes, but you see then that this example is becoming easier and easier for him to follow. Well, Jesus and His life is that dotted line that we must trace our lives over. When we first become Christians, we’re all over the place, just like my son. We’re making a long line and nowhere near the dotted line of Jesus’ life, and as we grow and as we mature the closer we stay to our perfect example that we have in Jesus. And so, your life must be transformed as you seek to serve Jesus as King, and you recognize according to Jesus’ life and according to His example we see that Jesus willingly suffered. That means that we should willingly suffer. We see that Jesus submitted to authority, even unjust authority. I mean, when we look at Jesus we see that His suffering and persecution was viewed by Him as a gift from the Father, all a part of God’s righteous plan. And He did all of it without anger or malice. And so we ought to be those who trace our lives along the pattern that we see in Jesus Christ. And that’s our first point that we see in verses 22 and 23. I) Imitate Jesus, your Perfect Example in Suffering (vv. 22-23) Peter continues this point, explaining further what it means to follow in Jesus’s steps, and that first point is: Imitate Jesus, your perfect example in suffering. Imitate Jesus, your perfect example in suffering. This is a real practical illustration of what it looks like to repent. Verse 22 and 23 say this, “Jesus committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. When He was reviled, he did not revile in return. When He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to He who judges justly.” Well, the first verse he says, “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth.” This is really a summary statement of Jesus’s holy life. He says there is no sin in His whole life, but why bring up the issue of deceit here? Why bring up the issue, well there was no deceit found in His mouth? Well, James reveals why this is so important. Look at James, chapter 3, verse 2 (James 3:2). Go back, it’s one book to the left. You can just look with me – James 3, verse 2. James speaks of the tongue like this: “For we all stumble in many ways and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man able also to bridle his whole body.” So you see here, when Peter wants to draw an example of Jesus’s perfection, he says, “You know what? He’s perfect in what He says. There’s no deceit found in His mouth whatsoever.” And that’s a perfect example because out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. And if we knew that Jesus was perfect we would expect that His mouth and His sayings and His words were also perfect as well. And so, it makes sense that he brings on this contrast and this parallel to Jesus’s mouth and His speech. Well, honest for us deceit of the mouth is a constant struggle, isn’t it? Sometimes we tell outright lies, other times we twist the truth, present truth in such a way you look pretty good – maybe not as bad as you really are. Deceit is very common among us and it reveals a sinful heart. This is not so in Jesus because there was no deceit in His mouth. And so, if there is no deceit, He is a perfect man as James says. Makes sense then that Peter too says that He committed no sin – zero sin was found in the life of Jesus. He was absolutely perfect. You see, even many of Jesus’s detractors recognize that Jesus was perfect. You think of Judas in Matthew 27:4, Judas, the man who betrayed Jesus, the disciple, he became convinced that he betrayed an innocent man. You look at Pilate. Pilate, the one who allowed Jesus to be sentence to death, he said, “I find this man to be innocent,” according to John 18:38. Jesus Himself asked, “Can any of you prove me guilt of any sin,” in John 8:46. And then we see the epistles, the Apostle John the Apostle Paul, explicitly say that Jesus was without sin whatsoever. Yet, we are called to follow Him as our example. Now think about that. It’s a little bit overwhelming, isn’t it? We are sinners by nature, just look at the deceit found in our mouth. That’s one sin issue. So, it’s overwhelming to be called to be perfect. That’s your example – perfection – thanks. I’m not going to get there. How can we have sinlessness as an example to follow and we are so prone to sin? Well, of course it’s impossible for us and we will never achieve sinlessness in this life, but we must understand that God didn’t create Adam and Eve, our forefathers, to sin, right? They were created without sin and that is the created ideal for every single human being – an ideal that will become a reality for all eternity if you’re in Christ. We’re given a new body that will last forever, in which we will never struggle with sin. That’s a wonderful, blessed promise that each and every one of us who are Christians have. And in Heaven, we will return to this to this ideal created order. The Bible, here and repeatedly though, calls Christians to pursue ‘kingdom living’ here and now. In other words, we should pursue now how we will live for all eternity. Of course we will fail, but it doesn’t mean that that isn’t our goal. Our goal and our pattern in this life is to become more and more holy, and just like my son who starts out all over the place tracing his letters, as we grow in Christ we’ll become closer and closer to that perfection. Sure, we’ll never get there now, but as we grow, that’s our goal – perfection like Jesus. So in that sense, Jesus is our perfect example to follow. In verse 23, Peter continues to give some concrete examples from the life of Christ that we need to imitate in our lives, especially as we face persecution. Here’s what he says in verse 23, “When He was reviled, He did not revile in return. When He suffered, He did not threaten.” Now this first word, ‘revile,’ that is used here is ‘to use vile and abusive language.’ And that’s what it means, to use completely abusive and vile language. It can include all sorts of slanderous talk, false accusations, yet nothing even remotely similar to that came from Jesus. See, Jesus was reviled throughout His ministry, He was called a ‘spawn of Satan,’ He was called all sorts of terrible things, and yet He exercised supernatural strength that we must learn put on as well. Let us not revile back when we are reviled. People will say all sorts of mean things against you. We know that to be true if you’re honest and lived for any length of time, you know that someone will say something against you that is either not true or incredibly mean and incredibly hurtful. Our response as Christians is to not say and respond in return with vile, slanderous talk. Remember, Peter also knew all of these things about Jesus because he saw it firsthand. He saw Jesus get reviled and in response say nothing. Further, [it] wasn’t just verbal abuse that Jesus suffered, but Jesus suffered physical abuse and in response to that physical abuse, He didn’t even threaten anybody. That’s amazing supernatural restraint. Now, if you were paying attention and thinking about some cross-references as we read our passage and you know your Old Testament well, you would recognize that this passage is very similar to a certain Old Testament passage. Pretty similar to Isaiah 53, isn’t it? So, I want you to turn to Isaiah 53 because we’re going to look at that wonderful chapter as it reveals some of these similar truths that we find Peter addressing in our passage, and they’ll say it in a different way and in a more expanded way. And so I think it’s very helpful for us to see what Peter was thinking of while he was writing this text. And so, looking at Isaiah 53, we’re going to first look at verse 9 – Isaiah 53:9. This is very similar to what Peter had just written in verse 22. Isaiah 53, verse 9 says this: “And they made His grave with the wicked and with the rich man in His death, although He had done no violence and there was no deceit in His mouth.” So, Jesus had not responded in violence and there was nothing wrong that he had done, and yet He was called a wicked, terrible sinner, given a death deserving for the most vile of sinners. Now, similar to verse 23, parallel to verse 23, we see verse 7 of Isaiah 53 (Isaiah 53:7). Isaiah writes this: “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, and yet He opened not His mouth, like the lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shears are silenced, so He opened not His mouth.” We’re reminded only that Jesus not retaliate, not only did He not threaten in response to suffering and to abuse, not only did He not respond in vile talk to the vile talk that was given against Him, but Jesus didn’t even open His mouth. He didn’t even defend Himself, and ultimately we see this is the case because according to verse 10, Jesus knew that it was the will of God. You see verse 10 says, “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush Him. He has put Him to grief, when His soul makes an offering for guilt he shall see His offspring, He shall prolong His days. The will of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.” He knew that all of this suffering, all of these terrible things that He was about to suffer and that He did suffer, it’s all God’s plan. Reminds us of verse 21 in 1 Peter, doesn’t it? You’re called to suffer. It’s all a part of God’s plan. And so Christian, as you remember these truths, as you remember these things that you are called to suffer, we should be those who do not revile in return, who do not threaten when we are harmed, and follow Christ’s perfect example. Now, with the World Cup going on right now, a soccer illustration is apropos, right? Zidane, the French Midfielder, had an illustrious career and he helped lead France to a World Cup Championship in 1998 during the prime of his career, I believe he was 26 years old at the time. Well you fast forward to the year 2006 and now Zidane is a 34 year old who is recently retired and the French coach begs him to return because France is having a hard time even qualifying for the World Cup. And so Zidane [agrees] to his request and returns to the French national team, and through his great play France qualifies for the World Cup. Well, most people see Zidane as over the hill in soccer years at least, and see him as not capable as leading the French national team to another World Cup Championship. Well, in the tournament, Zidane rose even higher than anybody came close to expecting. He led his team all the way to the championship match with Italy and before the match, he was actually awarded the Golden Ball, I didn’t know this trophy existed, shows you how much of a soccer fan I am, indicating that Zidane was the best player of the entire tournament. And so, the stage was set for an amazing finale for a great career. And in the final match, Zidane actually scored the very first goal and France seemed on its way to another championship with Zidane at the helm, but the Italian defender, Materazzi, played Zidane very aggressively and constantly was seen talking trash to the Frenchman throughout the entire match. Well, the match was getting tense as Italy scored a goal to tie it, and towards the end of the game the score was still tied and Materazzi had one final word to say to Zidane and it was the last straw. He lost it – completely. Zidane head-butted his opponent and knocked him to the ground. Zidane was of course given a red card, which means he was ejected from the rest of the game and he didn’t get to play in the final minutes of the championship game. It would be Zidane’s final play of his career. As hard as it is to control your temper when provoked, Christians are called to pursue peace when provoked – in every situation, right? I don’t want to leave you hanging, Italy ended up winning if you don’t remember. And Zidane would be known in infamy for that head-butt. Are we those who lose control when people revile us? I know I’m tempted to. When someone says something to you at work, when someone says something to - your family members say something to you – those especially hurt. Are we tempted to lose control? We must remember that our Lord Jesus was provoked beyond what any of us will ever experience. Just consider His final night. Think about this with me. He eats His final meal with a man that He knows will betray Him and all He really does is encourages him to go quickly. Jesus could of easily stopped everything right there, restrain Judas, told the other the details of his plan – but He didn’t. Then Jesus goes to the garden of Gethsemane, exactly where he knows Judas will be going to find Him. And a group comes with clubs and torches to arrest Him. And when Peter the Apostle tries to fight back, He stops him and He heals the injured man and He willingly goes with the mob to be put on trial. Now, He goes on trial here and it’s not an accident that this trial was in the middle of the night. This really wasn’t about justice; this supposed trial was more akin to plotting a murder than an actual trial. You see, everything about Jesus’s trial was actually illegal. According to Jewish law, the middle of the night was not when you were supposed to have a trial. In fact, swift same day punishment was not the way things were supposed to be carried out and there were no corroborating witnesses at Jesus’ trial as well, only planted witnesses – the Pharisees and the Sadducees paid off. Yet, through it all, Jesus does not revile in return. His mouth remains silent. Then Jesus is handed over to be scourged. We often think of like a whip, something that we might find in the western movies, but that’s not a Roman scourging was. It was the Roman flagrum. It’s several leather strands extruding from the end and the end of those strands were weighted, lead balls, bone, hooks, all designed to rip open the flesh and to inflict maximum pain and maximum bodily damage. We know that the Jews required a maximum of 39 lashes, but we also know that the Romans didn’t hold to that, so we’re not sure how many lashes Jesus had, but He sure had a lot. Nothing was held back in a Roman scourging. The ancient historian, Eusebius of Caesarea, recounts in vivid, terrible detail a scone of scourging. He writes, “The bystanders were struck with amazement when they saw them lacerated with scourges even to the innermost veins and arteries, so that the hidden inward parts of the body, both their bowel and their members, were exposed to view.” And then, on top of this, the Roman soldiers beat Jesus further, mocked Him, put a crown of thorns on His brow, and he still did not return the insults. After this, He was crucified. He was required to carry part of His cross through the city to Golgotha, and even though He was beaten, even though He had been humiliated, and possibly on the brink of losing His consciousness with such great loss of blood, which undoubtedly had already happened, there’s no doubt that He was unable to carry the large beam of wood, as someone who was encouraged, Simon of Cyrene was taken to help Him carry that. Then once He got to Golgotha, Jesus was placed on the cross where He would suffer a slow, painful death by asphyxiation, or suffocating to death. Over hours as His strength fade – the way crucifixion worked was that you died because you could no longer lift yourself up as you are hanging on the cross, your body could no longer lift itself up to fill your lungs up with air and so you ended up suffocating to death as you were tired and worn out. It’s typical for those crucified to hurl insults back at the crowds gathered below, to spit on them and as grotesque as it is, even to urinate on them. It was a completely despicable, terrible scene. But Jesus said, “Father, forgive them.” How could this be? Are we to be so patient, so longsuffering? I need help and I need great insight to know how I could possibly imitate Jesus on this crucial point. How in the world could I ever do what Jesus did and not respond in retaliation? Well, Peter gives us an insight – put something in Isaiah 53 because we’ll come back there in a little bit – the end of verse 23. Peter says this: “He suffered and He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly.” You see, it’s not about exacting revenge. We don’t need to get even. He trusted that it was God who is the one who is going to judge. Romans 12:9 says this: “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord.” That allows Paul also to say, according to verse 18 of that same passage, “If possible so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” I don’t care what they’re doing against you, I don’t care what sort of suffering, what sort of insults are going on in your life, we are to pursue peace with all, entrusting ourselves to God who ultimately will judge. So do you trust God to ultimately judge? Are you willing to suffer unjustly as Jesus did? Do you pursue peace with everybody? If not, this is sin. We all must repent of this sin and when we do, this is part of what makes us Christians; we are to imitate our Lord Jesus. And we will fail, we’ll revile in return, we’ll threaten when we’re in the midst of suffering, but when we do and when you fail, if you’re a Christian, you’re going to hate your sin and you’re going to turn from that sin and you’re going to say, “God, please forgive me.” And so, I’m begging you now, before God do that. Ask God to forgive you of those times in which you revile in return to being reviled. That’s what it means to live a repentant life. When you fail you turn from that sin and turn back to God. This is central to the gospel message. Christians are to be those who constantly are living a life of repentance. But we are also living a life of faith and settled trust in Jesus, and that’s our second point that we’ll see in verses 24 and 25. II) Cherish Jesus, your Substitute Sufferer (vv.24-25) Second point is: Cherish Jesus, you substitute sufferer. Cherish Jesus, your substitute sufferer. We see in verse 24, “He Himself bore our sins in his body on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.” Well, he begins here, “He Himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,” and we read “bore our sins,” and if we’re honest, it’s rather archaic language. Not many of you use the term ‘bore’ in that sense any longer and it’s familiar maybe in the church but when pressed, we might need to be reminded of what this is exactly referring to. So, it’s helpful to define it. It’s to take a burden off of someone else. You’re going to bare that burden for them. Let me give you a real helpful illustration: If someone wanted to bare my home debt, what they would do is they would pay of my mortgage, pay for any repairs, do the repairs, completely take over the burden for all of these things out of my hands and then give me back the perfect property, paid for home. There’s a signup sheet in the back east foyer if you’re interested in doing that. It’s exactly what Jesus did though. He bore all of the punishment for our sins, then turned around and gave you a perfect righteousness and eternal life. That’s amazing grace. Now, it says that He “bore our sins in his body on the tree.” It doesn’t say cross, there’s a different word for ‘cross.’ That’s because in talking about the word ‘tree’ here, he’s referring to Deuteronomy 21:23, a common New Testament cross reference that says, “All who hang upon the tree are seen as cursed by God.” This provides an important insight into Peter’s thinking here. As terrible as physical pain of crucifixion was, that we just talked about, that was only the tip of the iceberg. You see, Jesus endured God cursing Him for our sin. You see, the cup of God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus as God was cursing His Son. You see, the Father abandoned His son, the punishment that was due every single one of us and every single one of our sins was placed squarely on Jesus. This aspect of suffering was far worse than the physical pain and torture suffered on the cross and why ultimately Jesus was able to pay the penalty for our sins, because He took God’s curse, God’s punishment for all of our sins in Himself. And ultimately why did He have to do this? Why did He have to suffer the curse of God? Because we’re unable to. Those who, in this life, aren’t Christians who end of dying, they will suffer God’s curse for sins for all eternity in Hell. If you want eternal life, if you want a right relationship with God, you have to believe that all of God’s punishment for your sins were place only on Jesus. He did so that you might no longer serve the ‘Lord You’ but turn and serve the Lord Jesus. That’s why he says at the end of verse 24, “That we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” You see, because Jesus is your substitute, because He has paid for your freedom from sin, you are to be giving your life over to following His example, His straight line. And as we pursue a righteous life and as we try, through the power of the Holy Spirit which enables us to pursue living for Him, we will conclude as Peter does in verse 24, “By His wounds you have been healed.” By His wounds you have been healed. The healing here is obviously referring to a spiritual healing to the forgiveness of sins, or as just described before, those of us who are dying to sins and living to righteousness. That describes conversion, that describes what every Christian necessarily needs to experience. We need to be those no longer, as I said, serving ‘Lord You’ but serving Lord Jesus, and believe that all of our sins and the punishment due all of our sins have been placed on Jesus. It is only through the substitutionary atonement, or the substitutionary death of Jesus, that we can have forgiveness of sins. Again this reflects Isaiah 53. I want to just look at a couple of more verses from that wonderful chapter. We’ll start in Isaiah 52, verse 14 (Isaiah 52:14), describes the physical punishment that Jesus went through. It says, “As many were astonished at you, His appearance was so marred beyond human semblance and His form beyond that of the children of mankind.” And ultimately why did He endure all of that? Isaiah 53, verses 3-5 says it this way: “He was despised and reject by man. A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and as from whom men hide their faces, He was despise and we esteemed Him not. Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, and yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted, but He was wounded for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities, upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed.” See, Jesus Christ covered our griefs, covered our sorrows, covered our transgressions, covered our iniquities, therefore fixing your biggest problem. Despite what you may think, your cancer, your heart disease, your arthritis is not your biggest problem. Your biggest problem is your sin. And because the consequences of your sin last forever, that is why it is so sweet to recognize and believe that Jesus suffered so that we could have forgiveness of sins. Look at Isaiah 53:11, “Out of the anguish of His soul He shall see and be satisfied, but His knowledge of the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous and shall bare their iniquities.” See, Isaiah speaks of this great need that we have to be forgiven in verse 6 as well. It says, “All of us like sheep have gone astray. We have turned, everyone, to his own way and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” You see, Isaiah makes it crystal clear that we are totally incapable of earning God’s forgiveness on our own, we needed a substitute, and that’s exactly what Jesus fulfilled. Peter echoes this truth from Isaiah again in our passage in verse 25. The final verse of our passage says this: “For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepard and Overseer of your souls.” Peter recalls the famous illustration of sheep that Isaiah used and has been used several times throughout the Old Testament to describe sinners. Sheep, as you know, are rather helpless without a shepherd to guide them. They need to be led to water, shown new pastures to graze, protected from predators, basically cared for at all times. There’s one illustration of this: When my parents were in Switzerland, they heard a commotion outside their farmhouse bed and breakfast from their sheep, and as they look out their window they saw that one sheep has stuck his head to far in the five gallon bucket used to deliver their water. And he was walking around with this bucket on his head and the rest of the sheep were beating after him, “Baaah, Baaah!” And he was running around, couldn’t see anything, bonking into things, and it was a rather comical thing that lasted for several minutes until the farmer came out and pulled the bucket of the half-witted sheep’s head. See, left to our own devices we’re all like these sheep – hopelessly following other blind leaders. We need to place our faith and trust in the Great Shepherd. The only one who cares perfectly for our souls and who, as verse 25 says, will oversee and guide us in that way that we need to live, leading us where we need to go, ultimately for our good. So, what do you do with Jesus? Many people like Jesus only for getting them out of Hell, but reject them as their Shepherd, as their overseer, as their guide, as their Lord. We cannot say that we believe in Jesus to cover our sins without trusting His guidance for everything in this life. We cannot say we love Jesus and reject the clear commands found in the Word of God, thinking that somehow there’s an exception in your case – that’s what we always think. No, the Bible is rather clear. If you are saved, you have turned from serving ‘King You’ and are modeling your life after King Jesus. You live a life of repentance. You also must live a life of faith, cherishing Jesus, trusting in His substitutionary death alone for forgiveness of sins. My prayer today is that no one leaves here without totally giving their life to Christ and knowing for sure that you sins are forgiven and that you’re in a right relationship with our great God. Let’s pray. God, I pray that if some here have not repented and believed in you, they have not stopped living for themselves and serving You, I pray that you allow today to be that day. Today to be the day of salvation when You call some individual out here today to turn to You for the first time. I pray that that would be the case; they would completely trust in You and Your sacrifice for sins. For those of us who are believers, I pray that You would help us cherish these things, to remember what Jesus has done for us – all that He has done, and to remember that we are to be those who are constantly learning to see sin in our lives and hate it. I pray, God, that You would help us to be those who live a life of repentance and faith of turning and trust. I pray, God, that You would now be honored as we go throughout our day, as we have conversations after church, as we come back tonight to have a business meeting. I pray that you would be honored through everything we do today. We pray this in Your Son’s name, amen.

Scripture References: 1 Peter 2:21-25

From Series: "1 Peter: Standing Firm in this Shaky Life"

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