“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. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned 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 servants were slaves. Peter begins at the 18th verse: “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 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 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 no 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 life, we shall find our best comfort in thinking of the lowly Saviour 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 our Lord buffeted, scourged and crucified, yet silent in the majesty of His endurance. If these sufferings were entirely undeserved, and we are grossly slandered, we shall be comforted by remembering Him who did no 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 sufferer 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 downtrodden, shines on the injured and brings light to the oppressed.
If we lose the cross – if we miss the substitutionary sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have lost all.
Extract from ‘Communion Meditations and Addresses’
By: C. H. Spurgeon