With this being Memorial Day, let us take time and remember those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. We should also take this time to reflect on the greatest sacrifice ever made for us: Christ and His death on the cross. Paul tells us to proclaim this death until Christ returns (1 Corinthians 11:26). But, why? What is the significance of Christ’s death? What is the importance of his death on the cross?
1 Peter 2:21-25 gives us 5 reasons why Christ’s death is significant and, as a result, why we should remember Him.
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 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. Christ suffered for us. (v. 21)
Christ came to die for our sins even while we were still sinning. Romans 5:6 says, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:8 adds that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” See, Christ became our substitute on the cross. 1 Peter 2:24 reflects upon Deuteronomy 21:22. According to Deuteronomy, a person who had committed a crime was hung on a tree and cursed by God. Thus, Christ became a curse for us. It is by this suffering, we are called to follow. However, this following is not to be the exact same way. We cannot save ourselves, because we have fallen short. Christ doesn’t fall short, though.
2. He lived a sinless life. (v. 22)
Christ was perfect and completely obedient to God’s Word. He lived a sinless life. Romans 3:23 tells us that we all fall short, we sin, we fail. In other words, where we fail and where Adam fails, Christ succeeds. We, then, need a perfect representative to fulfill the law. Christ has done that. We can be saved because of Christ’s work.
3. He was just in being dealt with unjustly. (v. 23)
Even with living a sinless life, he was treated unfairly. He was without sin but was treated unjustly. He was sinless, suffered, and his reaction was humility (Philippians 2:5-11). What Christ did in his death was that he entrusted himself to God and His will.
4. We have healing and reconciliation through his death. (v.24b-25)
As said, we have sinned and are in rebellion against God. It is only through Christ, his death and work, that we can have healing and reconciliation leading to a personal relationship with God and eternal life. By that, He is the Lord and Shepherd over our souls.
5. He fulfilled the promises of God. (v. 21-25)
1 Peter 2:21-25 echoes Isaiah 53 and shows Christ to be the fulfillment of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53. Christ’s death fulfilled prophecy and the promises of God. It is by his wounds we are healed. It is because of Christ’s death (and his resurrection) that we can be saved. That is why His death is significant. We can have life through it.