DAILY DEVOTION - MAY 25
Listen to excerpts from today's daily devotion on this video.
This Daily Devotion is from A Living Hope, by Sarah Viggiano Wright, published by Bible Study Media, and made available to us through Presbyterian Women.
“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. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
1 Peter 2:24–25
Have you ever had someone say something to you that completely changed the way you thought about an issue?
For me, it was during my college years, listening to a sermon from my campus minister, Dustin, on the heartache Abraham and Sarah must have felt over not yet having their promised child. God had made a covenant with Abraham—a promise. But that wasn’t enough to calm Abraham’s fear that the child would never be born. Abraham was asking the question, “Can I trust God? Can I really trust him?” Then Dustin leaned over the podium as though pronouncing these words with every fiber of his being and, with his voice cracking, said, “You can always trust someone who would die for you. You can always trust someone who would die for you. And he did.”
Those powerful words pierced my heart. I was totally and utterly convicted about how little I really trusted the God who loves me, provides for me, and even died for me.
I had then, and still have (if I’m being honest), issues trusting God. Sometimes I question his goodness, especially when children are victims or when laws or lawmakers show partiality to some at the expense of others. I can doubt God’s faithfulness when I’m slighted or overlooked in my work or home. There are just certain ways I don’t want to suffer, and certain people, like my children and family, who I want to be off-limits to suffering. But, when Dustin said that we can always trust someone who would die for us, it instantly resonated with me: “He’s right!” I thought, “If you can’t trust someone who would lay down their life for you, then who can you trust?”
We all have trust issues. Granted, they’re not all equal, but we all have them. Many of us have issues trusting God even if we genuinely believe him to be good, faithful, and kind. When things get tough, sad, or uncomfortable, we start to question his goodness.
Peter is addressing those suffering unjustly. He is calling them to a radical, counter-cultural way of living by asking them to willingly endure suffering, like their example, Jesus, out of reverence for God. Peter instructs them to look to Jesus to understand the trust necessary to do so. Trusting that justice will be perfectly carried out here on earth, while a worthy pursuit, will ultimately fail them. Instead, they are to look to the place where the ultimate injustice was carried out, which yielded the ultimate grace. The injustice of Jesus’ bearing our sins gives us the grace to “live to righteousness” (v. 24).
By his example, Jesus shows us how to endure suffering: entrust yourself to the Father (v. 23). Our suffering Savior was continually entrusting, or committing himself, to the One who judges justly. This is not inaction or passivity. Jesus demonstrated continual, active, painstaking trust in the Father. Jesus handed over his own life and was “poured out” (Isaiah 53:12) for us. Why? Because the Just Judge is not passive when it comes to justice. Divine justice requires that the penalty for sin be paid—after all, we are talking about the sin that plagues his loved ones and the evil that separates God’s children from him.
Before Jesus intervened for humanity, we were like lost sheep— wandering, defenseless, slow to understand, easy prey, and vulnerable to all sorts of evils (Isaiah 53:6). But Jesus himself said that he is our Good Shepherd, the One who finds the lost, the One who gathers and guides us, the One who protects us as we journey, the One who finds green pastures for us, the One who nourishes us and provides for us, and the One who lays his own body down as a barrier should evil try to snag us (see Ezekiel 34:11–16; John 10:1–18). As Peter says, he is also our soul’s Overseer, literally “keeping his eye on” us, ensuring we reach our home with him.
So, despite all the suffering surrounding Christians, Peter asks us to trust God just as Jesus trusted the Father. And, we can! We can trust that the Father is satisfied with Jesus’ payment of our ransom in full on the tree, healing us with his wounds—the scars his body still bears. We can trust the Overseer he appointed. Jesus handed over his life to reclaim all who had strayed and to return us to the Father. The return is not of our own effort—we have been returned by the Good Shepherd.
Little Lamb, you can always trust the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for you.