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1 Peter 2:11-25 (Part 4)

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. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

(verses 24-25)


If any of this sounds familiar, perhaps you, like Peter, have read and reflected on Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 53) about the coming Messiah (the one he calls “the Servant”).

“… by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5)

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray;

each of us has turned to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6)

“… he had done no violence,

nor was any deceit in his mouth” (Isaiah 53:9; look back to 1 Peter 2:22)

“For he bore the sin of many” (Isaiah 53:12)

Indeed, Peter knows that this is his own story. Remember how on the night of Jesus’ betrayal, Peter himself denied ever knowing his Master – three times over. Then the cock crowed, and Peter wept bitterly. He knew his failure. He knew his sin.

But now he understands deeply that Christ’s death on the cross was for him – as it was also for each one of us.

I think that’s why Peter very deliberately, but briefly, switches the pronouns in this passage.

Ever since chapter 1 verse 4 he has been using “you/your,” addressing “God’s elect, strangers in this world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asian and Bithynia.” He’s been speaking directly to them. But now he switches (for the first two clauses of verse 24 only) to “we/our”he knows this is his story, and he is irresistibly drawn to include himself, with all believers, in these powerful statements.

Here is the overwhelmingly good news:

Each of us was immersed in sins as grievous as Peter’s own, having denied the Lord – many times over – in thought, in word, in deed. If ever we even recognized our failings, the most we could ever do was to weep bitterly. But Christ bore our sins, each and every one “all” as Paul says elsewhere, using a simple word that is inclusive, leaving nothing out. Jesus lifted them off our shoulders – off our hearts – and carried them himself, taking them to the cross, indeed taking them to the grave, that we might die to those sins and be reborn to new life, a life lived in righteousness beyond ourselves. In Christ, the sin-induced wounds we suffered to spirit and soul and body have all been healed. Washed away. Cleansed. Praise his name.

Yes, we, like Peter – like sheep – had gone astray. But our world has been changed. Now, all is made new. “(We) have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of (our) souls.”

So, give thanks. And live at peace, full and complete, with the one who is not only Shepherd and Overseer, but also the one who has eternally called us Friends, having proved it by laying down his life.


Dear Lord Jesus, I thank you that this is my own story – you bore my sins in your body on the tree, that I might die to sins and live for righteousness. I have received your healing. With joy, I give you thanks. With joy, I choose to follow you as Shepherd, Overseer, and Friend.


Reflect: In your mind’s eye, picture the cross. Jesus hung there for you. He bore your sins. His wounds bring you healing. Receive it all. Experience cleansing. Give thanks.


Alonso Cano, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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