Summary: We are called to follow in the often bloody footprints of Jesus Christ. What does this mean? How can I do it? What does it take?
May 5, 2003
"Footprints" 1 Peter 2:13-25
Pastor Jon MacKinney
Footprints are not a very common occurrence in Arizona. Frankly, in certain parts, like our part, there’s not enough rain to make any mud to make any footprints. If we do see or anything else like watery footprints we might leave on a patio disappear in like three seconds, the time it takes your hair to dry getting out of the shower. So, it’s not a very common thing. But when we do find footprints they’re unmistakable evidence that someone has passed this way before. Sometimes we follow footprints thinking they’re going somewhere we want to go. But, if we saw a set of footprints that were going along and all of a sudden disappeared over a cliff, we might decide not to follow those footprints anymore. Or, we might see a set of footprints that look good until all of a sudden they end and there’s kind of a bloody patch on the ground and then drag marks going off, along with the footprints of a large cat. We might decide that we’d better run.
Footprints are important. And this passage that we have before us this morning has a powerful statement in verse 21, "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps." We’ve got a line of footprints to follow. But, we see two things in that verse that cause us a little concern. One of them is the word "this." "To this you were called." Now what is that "this" that we’re called to follow because those are the footprints. To this, to this line of footprints you were called. And then the other word that gives us little shudder of fear is this word "suffered." "To this you were called because Christ suffered for you leaving you an example." If you ever wonder if suffering is part of the Christian life, read 1 Peter 2:21. Maybe even crochet it into a little wall-hanging. Because suffering is not just for the Christians of Pakistan or Indonesia or South America or the Communist countries. Suffering is something to which we are called.
As we have seen earlier in this letter, that Peter wrote to the believers in northern Turkey (what is now Turkey), Christians have a unique set of values that set them apart from the world. And one of these values is the acceptance of something like suffering. There is no doubt that if we follow the footprints of Jesus, they will lead us into places where our flesh does not want to go. They will lead us to do things, to say things, to treat people in a way that our flesh is going to be resistant to. "That’s going to be too costly for me." "I don’t want to do that. That’s going to cause me to be viewed in a way that I don’t want to be viewed." The flesh will always resist following in the footprints of Jesus Christ.
The life of Jesus Christ was characterized by one thing – an unquestioning faith in His Father. Whatever God called Jesus to do, He did. Whatever God told Him to say, He said. Whatever person God told Him to minister to, He ministered to. Whatever it cost, whatever the response, Jesus did it. That was the unquestioning characteristic of His life. And why did He have faith? Because He trusted. He trusted Him.