Jeremiah 8:21, “For the wound of the daughter of my people is my heart wounded…”
1 Peter 2:24, “By His wounds you have been healed.”
I was reading in Jeremiah this morning and came across the prophet’s lamentations in chapter 8:18-9:3. It struck me that–though these words are Jeremiah’s–he is speaking under the inspiration of the Lord and proclaims the words of the Lord. For that reason alone I don’t think we should make a sharp distinction between Jeremiah’s response to the impending destruction of Jerusalem and YHWH’s response….and we certainly shouldn’t let ourselves believe that Jeremiah is more compassionate than the Lord….as if he is in agony over the destruction of his people while YHWH watches on in dispassionate silence. Jeremiah’s role as a prophet invites us to understand his agonies over the coming judgment as human manifestations of the Lord’s own heart concerning this issue.
Of course, we have more reason than Jeremiah’s prophetic laments to assume that YHWH was–and is–intimately involved in the sufferings (even the sin-caused sufferings) of His people; namely, Jesus Christ. The incarnation of God in Christ declares once and for all that the One True God has not and will not remain untouched by the agonies of creaturely life under the fall. He does not sit unmoved in a “high and holy place,” rather, He occupies the heights as well as the depths, dwelling also in the ashes with the contite and broken hearted (Is. 57:15)…..Indeed, the heart of God in Christ cracked and bled and wept and cried out during His time here on earth (Luke 22:42, Hebrews 5:7)…..and that was for us, for our sins, for our redemption……we blaspheme if we think God is unmoved or uninvolved or cooley indifferent to human horrors.
And so, we are right–I think–to read Jeremiah 8:21 not only as a statement about Jeremiah but, more foundationally, a statement about YHWH. And these words become more than metaphorical when we recall that the Holy One would create Himself into humanity and take to Himself a physical, beating, blood-pumping, life-sustaining heart (John 1:14, Phil.2:6-7)….and that He would offer up this heart to be run through by a Roman spear “for the wound of the daughter of [His] people” (Jer.8:21, John 19:34) so that, by His wounds, we might be healed (1 Peter 2:24).