What the Bible says about Good Friday
24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
2:24 bore our sins. See Isa 53:12. Although dealing with the example set by Christ, Peter touches also on the redemptive work of Christ, which has significance far beyond that of setting an example. Peter here points to the substitutionary character of the atonement. Christ, like the sacrificial lamb of the OT, died for our sins, the innocent for the guilty (see Ro 5:6; 1Jn 2:2 and notes). tree. A figurative reference to the cross (see note on Ac 5:30; see also Ac 10:39; 13:29; Gal 3:13 and note). that we might die to sins and live for righteousness. Cf. Ro 6:3–14. Peter here highlights how the cross bears on our sanctification. As a result of Christ’s death on the cross and believers’ union with Christ in his death, they are “dead” to sin so that they may live new lives and present themselves to God as instruments of righteousness (see notes on Ro 6:11–13). you have been healed. See Isa 53:5 and note; not generally viewed as a reference to physical healing, though some believe that such healing was included in the atonement (cf. Isa 53:4 and note; Mt 8:16–17). Others see spiritual healing in this passage. It is another way of asserting that Christ’s death brings salvation to those who trust in him.
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31 because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”
9:31 Delivered into the hands of men. Critical scholars have argued that such allusions to the cross were put in the mouth of Jesus only after his death. Could Jesus have known (without divine insight) before Jerusalem that the path was going to involve suffering? Jesus came in a long line of religious figures who also suffered. The prophets, John the Baptist, the Maccabees, even the Dead Sea Scrolls community—they all displayed an awareness of redemptive suffering. From a historical perspective, the words of Jesus may not have been anachronistically inserted into the narrative. Jesus displayed both understanding and uncertainty about the future. Jesus’ prayer in the garden before his arrest might reveal his own uncertainty about the exact nature of the road ahead, though he seemed to know his life was at stake (see Mt 26:39; Mk 14:36).
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5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
By his wounds we are healed (53:5). The gods aided in the healing process among Israel’s neighbors. A truly international incident involved Nimmureya/Amenemophis III of Egypt, who had married the sister of the Mitannian king Tushratta and of Babylonia’s Kassite king Kadashman-Enlil. He suffered greatly, including from abscessed teeth, and convinced his Mitannian brother to send a statue of Shaushka/Ishtar of Nineveh, since she possessed healing powers.
Numerous Mesopotamian deities, including Marduk, Nusku, Nabu, and Gula, were involved in healings and even resuscitations. In Egypt, Sekhmet was the goddess of healing, though others such as Hathor and the deified Imhotep could also heal. These all healed from their own power, but they did not assume the suffering upon themselves, as does the Servant of Isaiah 53.
Lenka Peacock, courtesy of the British Museum