To This We Are Called (40 Days of Easter Truth #17)
Easter Focus Passage: 1 Peter 2:13-25
21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Easter Truth – DAY SEVENTEEN:
Jesus Christ is the embodiment of what it means to be sinless and still suffer, to be perfect and still experience pain. The amazing thing about Jesus is that even though He was God, He chose to die not for Himself but for us. He also chose to die not as an example to say, “See, this is how you suffer.” He chose to die for us, in our place, as the ultimate sacrifice so we would not have to suffer in that way. You see, a sinful man could not die for other sinful men, only a perfect, sinless man could do that.
God’s ultimate purpose for all His children is that we follow in Jesus’ footsteps. This means that we commit to following the plan and the purpose God has for us and in so doing, we learn and strive to live like Christ no matter the cost. Our very hope in life is in the fact that Jesus Christ willingly “bore our sins in his body on the cross.” He made it possible for us to live and to have life.
The implication of Jesus’ sacrifice is that we do not have to carry our sins around or be weighed down by the guilt and shame of our transgressions. We do not have to live under the guise of perfection. Our hope and our peace and our eternal life rests safely in the fact that God gave up His Son for us and Jesus willingly went to the cross, bore our sins, and died for us.
But notice that we are not left hanging. Jesus didn’t just die for all our sins and that’s it. No. He died so that we could also die to our sins and live in righteousness. Following in Jesus’ footsteps means that we choose to live in righteousness and holiness. In order for dying to something to be meaningful, we must also have something to live for. The cross of Christ is freedom from the guilt of sin and it is also freedom from the power and control of sin.
Christ died for our sins, removed our guilt, and releases us from sin’s bondage. It no longer has the power to control us because when we are following in Christ, we are striving to live for His righteousness. Finally, we see that Christ died to bring us to Himself. We — lost, weak, poor, broken down sheep — had to be brought back home to the “Shepherd and Overseer of our souls.” It is both humbling and comforting to know that the Good Shepherd loves us, guides us, provides for us, covers us, and pursues us with all His might not because He has to but because He wants to.
When we awaken to the power and love of Christ and the wonderful gift He gave to us by dying for us, we will want to die to ourselves and to our sins and start living for His righteousness. The love of God surrounds us, pull us back from the path on which we are straying, and shows us that peace, love, joy, and all the things we ever could hope for in life are found in the beautiful pasture of “the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls.”
Lord, thank You for Jesus and for His sacrifice on the cross for us. This wonderful gift of salvation is so undeserved but we are humbled to receive it. Help us to die to our sins and to start living for righteousness and following You into the path of grace and truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.