Christ: Our Example

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“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21)

Some have tried to pattern their lives after that of Jesus simply by asking in every situation, “What would Jesus do?” But in the context of our text, the primary “example” which He left us was nothing less than His own sacrificial death!

Note the context: “For this is thankworthy [same word as ‘grace’], 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 ‘grace’] with God” (1 Peter 2:19-20).

To follow Christ’s example, therefore, is to be willing to endure unjustified suffering—even defamation and persecution—with grace and patience.

But that is not all; we must also do it in silence! “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not” (1 Peter 2:23). “As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (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 “natural” reaction was not Christ’s reaction. He could have called “twelve legions of angels” (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 “bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24).

Second, He left us an example, that we “should follow his steps.” He was not just silent in His sufferings; “He suffered for us!” 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