Because Christ Suffered for You
Read 1 Peter 2:18–22
Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
“He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
Passages like today’s are troublesome to read because of the horrific history of enslavement. Not to mention the way this passage and others have been used over time to justify the evils of slavery. Although slavery in the ancient world was very different than “New World” and modern slavery (it wasn’t race-based and was typically a temporary condition), no form of slavery is defensible. We know from the Apostle Paul, however, that the Scriptures were preserved by God to encourage us and give us endurance in our faith (2 Timothy 3:16). So, what in this passage is useful for us today?
Let’s focus on this phrase: “Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example.” In our world, we immediately believe something is wrong when we suffer even the slightest injustice, particularly when we have acted appropriately. We want to point fingers, remove ourselves from any kind of pain, or seek revenge against those who have wronged us. But Jesus--who Himself suffered unjustly as do those who have been enslaved--taught us to take up our cross and to deny ourselves; to love and do good to our enemies. Jesus taught us a different way, the way of suffering. Of course, this is not to say we should seek out injustice or suffering. But how do we respond when these come our way?
- What do you think Peter meant when he said we have been called to suffer for doing good and that we should follow in Jesus’ steps?
- Reflect on a time you were treated unjustly. How do you think Jesus would have called you to respond to that treatment? Why do you believe that?
- What is God seeking to draw your attention to through today’s passage?
God, thank You for Your Word and the way You speak to me through it. The call to suffering is challenging and is not something I can honestly look forward to. But You can shape and transform me; You can change my heart toward those who cause me injustice so that I can forgive and bless them; You can help me endure any kind of suffering. Strengthen me and fill me with Your grace. Amen.
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