Biblically, sheep have a problem with straying. And so do we. It’s no wonder that several writers used sheep as an example of us.
For example, Isaiah says, “we all like sheep have gone astray; each of us has turned — every one– to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
We’ve strayed from God, but Jesus was the one who took the punishment. So that’s sort of good news– aren’t the recipients of the consequences. But it’s not wholly good news because we’re still strayed from God.
Peter takes it a step further. He says, “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).
Healed to Righteousness
So first, we sinned. That sin took us away from God, and we were stuck at a distance. But God wasn’t content with that distance, so he put the sin on Jesus instead.
That’s great for us, it’s quite the burden lifted off. But God didn’t leave it at that. He took on the sin, dying on the cross, so we might die to sin and live to righteousness.
There was purpose and intention behind Jesus receiving the punishment in our place: so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He healed our wounds, our sin, and now we are enabled to actually live to righteousness.
We have been healed by Jesus’ sacrifice, and returned to our dear Shepherd. That’s the gospel right there– we were far, but God healed us and forgave us and brought us near again. He is a very good shepherd indeed.
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