Summary: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree...
The Great Carpenter
1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
1. The Usefulness of Wood. It was wood with which a carpenter worked, and out of wood came many useful things. In Bible times it wasn’t so much furniture and decorations that were made, though they were, but more important by far, a carpenter made plows, yokes for animals, and other agricultural machinery, ladders, doorways and doors, wooden locks and keys, and lattice work for windows. It was wood from which much of the Temple walls were made, as well as the Temple furnishings, and it was wood that was used in the sacrifice of millions upon millions of animals, from the days of Adam and Eve until the time of Jesus. Wood was very useful, though also relatively rare in the Land of Israel, even though there is some evidence that it was more abundant then than it is today.
2. Wood Abused. Like virtually everything, however, this blessing of God can be abused, and it was abused in many ways, in the Bible. It was wood, the trunk and branches of a tree, where the snake slithered up in the Garden of Eden, and from which the devil inside the snake spoke to Eve and lured her into rebelling against her God; from the wood of that tree the serpent conquered and enslaved the entire human race and turned them against their Creator to lives of self-centeredness and rebellion. And sometimes, wood is involved in specific acts in that rebellion.
It was wood which many skilled carpenters took, and very carefully, very skillfully, sometimes even very beautifully, turned into…idols. A detailed description of a craftsman making an idol from wood is given in a number of segments in the Book of Isaiah, off and on in chapters 40 through 46. With this wood the craftsman would make a disgusting misrepresentation of what he thought was a god, but in fact was not, and no one was smart enough to catch on that from the same block of wood which he had used to make his “god,” he took pieces and used it to bake bread in an oven or simply to warm himself.
It was wood that the heathen nations all around used for their detestable Asherah poles, and even the Israelites adopted the custom. When God called Gideon to free His people from the Midianites Gideon began by cutting down his own father’s idolatrous pole (Judges 6:25ff.)
It was wood that formed the shaft of King Saul’s spear, which he threw several times at the innocent young David and once at his own son Jonathan, in an angry attempt to destroy them (1 Samuel 18, 19, 20).
It was wood with which King Nebuchadnezzar heated his fiery furnace seven times hotter than normal in an attempt to execute three good men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, for no crime other than refusing to bow in worship to anything but the true God (Daniel 3).
It was wood from which the wicked Haman built his 75-foot high gallows to hang Queen Esther’s cousin Mordecai (Esther 5:9-14).
And we don’t know for sure, but it might have been wood which the first murderer, Cain, the son of Adam and Eve, used in the murder of his brother Abel (Genesis 4). We do know that it was wood which many of Jesus’ enemies carried as clubs in their hands as they came to arrest Him in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:47). Yes, wood, a blessing from God, could easily be abused by both the devil and the sinful human race.
3. Wood to the Rescue. Yet God overcame the abuses of the devil and the world. For sin and rebellion, He prescribed sacrifices, sacrifices of animals, parts of which would be burned, and other parts cooked, over…wood. This was accepted as satisfaction for sin. But beyond that, there were some noteworthy Bible examples of God using wood to save His people:
It was wood from which Noah and his three sons built an ark 450 feet long, to rescue their family and representatives of each kind of animal from the flood waters that were going to come upon the earth, and from the ungodly people who would be buried in those waters (Genesis 6).
It was wood from which Moses’ staff was made, the staff which became a snake (Exodus 4:1-4), the staff which he stretched out again and again over the land of Egypt to bring forth the plagues with which the Lord afflicted Israel’s enemies, the staff which he lifted up over the Red Sea (Exodus 14:16), and the waters parted, and the Israelites marched through on dry land. With this same staff the Lord ordered him to strike a rock and extract water for several million people in the desert (Exodus17:5-6). This staff Moses held up over the battle with the Amalekites, as his brother Aaron, along with Hur, helped him hold his hands up so that the Israelites could win the battle (Exodus 17:8ff.)