During Old Testament times it was a common custom that when someone was unable to pay their debts, they might sell their liberty and become a bondservant of their debtors, and thus work off their debt. In order to protect the bondservant, laws were given to prevent unfair treatment or excessively long periods of service. Exodus 21:1-6 provides for the release of a bondservant in the 7th year of service. This passage also details the process to be followed in the event that the servant decides to stay with his master after his term of service has expired:
Now these are the judgments which you shall set before them:If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing.If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him.If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself.But if the servant plainly says, “I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.
It seems so unusual that anyone would voluntarily choose to remain under a master when they could choose their independence instead. Who would make such a choice? The answer appears obvious – no one. And truly there are none among this sinful race who possess within themselves the desire to make such a choice, even when that Master is the Lord of glory.
We did not love Him. We did not want to stay with Him and serve Him. We would not be pierced for Him, so He was pierced for us.
In His piercing He plainly declared His love for us
In His piercing He promised to stay with us
In His piercing He declared that He would serve as our High Priest forever.
The servant would not be pierced for the Master, so the Master was pierced for the servant…..so that we could love Him, so that we could serve Him, so that we could stay with Him forever.