21 God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. 22 He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.
Dear Lord Jesus, I need every truth so beautifully crammed into this one small portion of the Word. First of all, don’t let me ever forget that you are my substitute before you are my example. You suffered in our place on the cross, once-and-for-all; and now, we follow you into the fellowship of suffering in our world.
Because you never sinned, we have the resources of the gospel when we do sin. And “testy,” provoking, conflictive relationships are the fertile soil in which I can super-grow weeds of defensiveness, self-righteousness, and a bad attitude. Jesus, grant me a thicker skin and a bigger heart.
23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.
Jesus, if anyone ever had a right to get hair-trigger defensive and vengeful, it was you. Your sufferings were entirely unjust, and yet, they fulfilled the demands of perfect justice for us, forever. Hallelujah, many times over!
Because you “left your case in the hands of God,” you have won salvation for your whole Bride, including me. And now, through your finished work, I know God to be Abba, Father—the one I too, can trust in difficult moments, stories, and relationships.
24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.
Jesus, thank you for living, dying and rising for us; and for reigning now, and returning for us one Day. We’ve already experienced a great deal of healing, but we long for the perfect wholeness for which we wait. Until that Day, free us to love to your glory, even when that’s the hardest part of our day.
25 Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.
As in the past, so in this moment, we turn to you—the Good Shepherd and Guardian of our souls. There is no safer haven; there is no other savior. We worship and love you. So very Amen we pray, in your kind and powerful name.