Summary: We are called to follow in the footprints of Jesus Christ, and sometimes those footprints are bloody. What is it that characterizes this wonderful person in whose steps we are to walk?
Passage: 1 Peter 2:13-25
Intro: Footprints aren’t very common in Arizona
1. not enough rain to make mud, anything else dries in 3 seconds
2. but when we do find them, they are unmistakable evidence that someone has passed this way before.
3. if we see a set of footprints disappear over a cliff, we tend to avoid following them.
4. if we see them suddenly meet up with paw prints of a large cat, replaced by blood and drag marks, we would run the other way.
5. there is a powerful statement in the passage that was read for us.
6. v21 says “to this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps”
7. two things leap out at us from this verse.
8. first, we wonder what “this” is referring to
9. 2nd, we have a little shudder of fear when we see that word “suffer”.
10. as we have seen earlier in this letter, followers of Jesus Christ have a unique set of values that set us apart from the world.
11. there is no doubt that following the footprints of Jesus will lead us places where our flesh will resist going.
12. the life of Jesus Christ was characterized by faith; unquestioning obedience to His Father because He trusted His Father.
13. that’s what the “this refers to in v21, “this life of obedient faith”
14. What are we called to believe about God, believe so much that it changes the way we live?
I. Faith in the Sovereignty of God
1. vv 13-17 deal with the believers relationship to the government.
2. don’t forget! The government these believers were under was headed by Nero.
Il) apparently Nero enjoyed driving chariots, wanted to practice at night as well, sent soldiers into town to find Christians, who he tied to posts around his track and then lit them on fire to provide light for him.
3. here was a king who delighted in tormenting believers, and Peter is telling them and us to “submit yourselves to every authority”
4. notice something in vv13, 15, 16, &17.
5. each one points to the reason we submit, and the reason has nothing to do with the behavior or attitudes or politics of the king
6. “for the Lord’s sake”…it is because God has placed these rulers in place by His sovereign will.
7. Paul says the same thing in Rom 13:1
PP Romans 13:1
8. no one rules except by the sovereign will and choice of God.
9. and I’d imagine the recipients of this letter had some questions they would like to ask God about His choice in this case.
10. as believers, we are called to believe that God knows exactly what He is doing to promote His cause and His purposes.
11. there is no doubt that His ways are difficult to swallow, even harder to digest!
12. He has told us that, and asks that we submit to His greater wisdom
13. submission to the government, especially in the U.S., is not particularly taxing.
14. generally speaking, few of us find submission to our government a struggle.
15. but the footprints of Jesus continue into a darker place.
II. Faith in the Justice of God
1. If there is anything we all want, it is to be treated in the way we deserve.
2. if we do a poor job, we’ll take the rebuke, the “F”, being passed over for the promotion
3. but if we do a good job, we want the praise, the “A”, the pay upgrade and the office with a window and a door.
4. this, we believe, is justice.
5. Peter address a situation that is a hotbed for injustice; slavery
6. in Romans times, slavery was different in many ways from that which was practiced in the U.S. before the Civil War.
7. many of the slaves in Roman times, especially the household slaves mentioned in v18, had sold themselves into slavery on purpose.
8. even so, they were considered property by their owners, and sometimes treated as such.
9. and sometimes, as Peter mentions, they did good work and suffered what Peter calls “unjust suffering”
10. unjust suffering implies many things.
11. being misunderstood, having our work overlooked, being the target of unprovoked hatred, doing good and being beaten for it,
12. when this happens, our whole being cries out for justice!!
13. and it at this point of pain that Peter writes these words, “to this you were called”, and specifically he means a life of such radical faith in God that it will accept with grace the awful pain of unjust suffering.
14. for us to accept unjust suffering, receiving ill-treatment for doing good, we must ultimately believe in the just nature of God