for even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we 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 Who Judges Righteously: Who His Own Self bore our sins in His Own Body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto Righteousness: by Whose stripes you were healed (I Pet. 2:21–24).
Men can only believe in God by believing in the Lamb of God. It is not by means of the Creation that they believe, for that can not give rest to the conscience; nor by means of Providence, for that leaves the way of God upon Earth in profound darkness; nor by means of the Law, for that fills the conscience with terror. It is only by the means of Jesus, the Lamb of God Who redeemed them to God.
Just as a child, with painstaking effort and close application, follows the shape of the letters of his teacher and thus learns to write, so Saints should, with like painstaking effort and by close application, endeavor to be like the Lord Jesus in their own personal lives. Or, as a small child endeavors to walk in the footprints made by his father’s feet in the snow, so we are to follow in the path which our Lord took.
The Greek word for “follow” literally means “to take the same road” as someone else takes. We should walk the same road that Jesus walked—in short, be Christlike.
However, the only way we truly can follow in Christ’s footsteps is that we ever look to the Cross. Without the help of the Holy Spirit, we certainly cannot do it, and the Holy Spirit will help us only if we ever look to the Cross. That is the pattern we ought always to follow!
The word “bore,” used in the 24th Verse, is the translation of a word used of the Priests carrying the Sacrifice up to the Altar. The Brazen Altar was 4 1/2 feet high, and was approached by an incline up which the Priest bore the Sacrifice.
Alford says that this word belongs to the idea of Sacrifice, and is not to be disassociated from it. The Greek word translated “tree” does not refer to a literal tree, but to an object fashioned out of wood, in this case the Cross. Thus our Lord, Himself the High Priest and the Sacrifice, carried our sins as a burden of guilt up to the Cross.
The phrase, “Being dead to sins,” is literally “having become off with respect to sins.” It speaks of the action of God in breaking the power of the sinful nature in the believing sinner when he puts his faith in the Lord Jesus as Saviour. Henceforth he need not be a slave to sin.
Concerning the “stripes” which Jesus suffered on our behalf, Wuest says:
“The Greek presents a picture of our Lord’s lacerated back after the scourging He endured at the hands of the Roman soldiers. The Romans used a scourge of cords or thongs to which were attached pieces of lead, brass, or small sharp-pointed bones. Criminals condemned to crucifixion were ordinarily scourged before being executed. The victim was stripped to the waist and bound in a stooping position, with his hands behind the back, to a post or pillar. The suffering under the lash was intense. The body was frightfully lacerated. The Christian martyrs at Smyrna about A.D. 155 were so torn by the scourges that their veins were laid bare, and the inner muscles and sinews, even the bowels, were exposed.
“The Greek word translated ‘stripes’ refers to a bloody wale trickling with blood that arises under a blow. The word is singular, not plural. Peter remembered the Body of our Lord after the scourging, the flesh so dreadfully mangled that the disfigured form appeared in his eyes as one single bruise.
“Thus we have the portrait of the suffering Servant of Jehovah, His Blessed Face so pummeled by the hard fists of the mob that it did not look like a human face any more, His back lacerated by the Roman scourge so that it was one mass of open, raw, quivering flesh trickling with blood, His Heart torn with anguish because of the bitter, caustic, malevolent words hurled at Him. On that bleeding, lacerated back was laid the Cross.
“Unsaved Reader, this was all for you, just as if you were the only lost person in the universe. The Lord Jesus died for you, in your stead, took your place on the Cross, paid your penalty, so that God could offer a Salvation from sin based upon justice satisfied.
“Will you not right now appropriate the Lord Jesus as your own personal Saviour, trust Him to save you?
“And Saint, does not all this make you love the Lord Jesus more, soften and make more tender your heart? The Blood of Christ heals our sin in that He, by One Offering, put away sin forever.”
It is ever the Cross! The Cross! The Cross!
Writing on the Wall
Read Daniel 5:1 through 6:28; 1 Peter 4:1–19
Many biblical idioms have become part of everyday language—the patience of Job, the wisdom of Solomon, and the writing on the wall. The latter comes from today’s reading in Daniel. It implies that a negative event will occur based on current circumstances.
Daniel deciphered the meaning of the words written by a hand God used to deliver an ominous message to King Belshazzar.
“Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians” (Daniel 5:26–28).
Years before when Jerusalem had fallen to the Babylonians, golden goblets had been taken from the temple of God.
Belshazzar had ordered these goblets removed from storage and brought to him. He used them in the drunken feast that honored false gods. God’s indictment underscores the truth found throughout Scripture: God has harsh consequences for those who do not honor Him.
Thought for Today: Those who fear God need fear no other.
Quicklook: Daniel 5:22–28
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