As Easter draws closer, I know the inability to gather in person and praise our Savior is painful, disappointing, and even disheartening. It is easy to be angry about the suffering happening all around us and to wish to rebel against this sudden curtailing of our lives and freedom.
I have been looking for different passages about Jesus’s death and resurrection, that I may approach this Easter season with new perspective and fresh joy. In 1 Peter, he quotes pieces from Isaiah 53, the chapter prophesying the suffering and death of Christ:
When reviled, He did not revile in return; when suffering, He did not threaten,
but committed Himself to the One who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins
in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness;
by His wounding you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but
you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
-1 Peter 2:22-25
He committed Himself to the Father, because the Father judges justly. He committed Himself to the One who would judge Him for all the sins committed by us. He committed Himself to our justified wrath. And because of that the One who judges justly calls us His children. I am forced to look at my own response to suffering; do I rail against the suffering or wallow in self-pity or do I commit myself to the One who judges justly? Often, I forget that God is a just God, which means anything He allows to happen to me, to my world, is just. It is right because He ordained it. I allow my heart to stray in frustration or distraction, seeking pleasure or at least numbness from everything but Him, until I feel too far to return.
But He bore my sins that I might live for righteousness, that I may be healed. When I dwell upon those truths, peace floods my heart, recognizing that I am safe within the will of a just God and under the healing of a Savior who sacrificed everything for me. Peter ends this passage with the most glorious words that we have been “returned to the shepherd and guardian of [our] souls.” Returned means it’s where we belong; we have belonged to Him from the very beginning. What peace to know that we have a guardian over our souls to whom we belong so wholly. And the word shepherd always reminds of the 23rd psalm – peace and protection and rest amid all circumstances. I’ll close with the words of a hymn that has been running through my head recently:
Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand,