â€œFor even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.â€ (1 Peter 2:21)
Some have tried to pattern their lives after that of Jesus simply by asking in every situation, â€œWhat would Jesus do?â€ But in the context of our text, the primary â€œexampleâ€ which He left us was nothing less than His own sacrificial death!
Note the context: â€œFor this is thankworthy [same word as â€˜graceâ€™], if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully . . . if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, yet take it patiently, this is acceptable [also the same word as â€˜graceâ€™] with Godâ€ (1 Peter 2:19-20).
To follow Christâ€™s example, therefore, is to be willing to endure unjustified sufferingâ€”even defamation and persecutionâ€”with grace and patience.
But that is not all; we must also do it in silence! â€œWho, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened notâ€ (1 Peter 2:23). â€œAs a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouthâ€ (Isaiah 53:7).
It is a natural reaction to want to strike back at one who has slandered or injured us, especially if such an act was an insulting response to kindness. But such a â€œnaturalâ€ reaction was not Christâ€™s reaction. He could have called â€œtwelve legions of angelsâ€ (Matthew 26:53) to His defense, but He chose to suffer in silence.
And why would He do such a thing? First, if He had not done so, we would have been lost in our sins forever. He â€œbare our sins in his own body on the treeâ€ (1 Peter 2:24).
Second, He left us an example, that we â€œshould follow his steps.â€ He was not just silent in His sufferings; â€œHe suffered for us!â€ If we would really be like Him, we must be willing to suffer quietly on behalf of others, even when they are the ones who deserve it. This is acceptable with God! HMM