Summary: Jesus drew the strength for that amazing response from His complete trust in His Father’s ultimate purpose to accomplish justice on His behalf, and against His hateful rejecters.
If you were not out this morning and you turned on your TV, you would probably see a bunch a shiny buildings, with a happy message of prosperity. Many of the most popular places today will tell you that God wants you to be happy, wealthy and healthy, and if you are not, then you fail. It’s the message that you will see on TV by and large and the basis of many of the most popular books, from the prayer of Jabez to the book by the best-selling author, featured on Oprah, of the book entitled The Secret. Purported to be “the secret” to making more money, losing weight, finding the love of your life, and achieving job success. In it’s essence it is Idolatry: in elevating gifts above the giver.
What is your greatest difficulty? It is not your spouse, your job, your government or any suffering that you may have. Your greatest problem is sin. It is the root of the problems in your marriage, being the employee God intends you to be, the citizen He intends you to be and the reason we suffer in this world. I am not saying that you committed a specific sin that caused your particular suffering, but it is the existence and problem of sin in this world that causes suffering. It is your personal sin, that is your greatest problem.
In our greatest of errors in life, we downplay our own sinfulness and the essential problem of sin. From self-help books, to self-will salvation, the problem is claimed to be bad thinking. This clouds our real need, for a Saviour, a Substitute, a sacrifice. The atonement for sin is the reason Jesus came into the world.
In our study of First Peter we have seen recently the commands of Submission to Government and in the workplace. We can so easily move to a works based moralism, taking our eyes off and our understanding away from the only one who helps us understand submission and the reason for obedience. Before he shows us how submission works itself out in other spheres of life, Peter here puts front and center, Christ, who shows us how to live but more importantly why we have life through submission even in the hardest of obedience, in pattern of suffering.
This concluding passage of 1 Peter 2 presents the suffering Messiah and reveals three aspects of His suffering: He was 1) Believers’ perfect standard for suffering, 2) their perfect substitute in suffering, and 3) became their perfect shepherd through suffering.
1) BELIEVERS’ PERFECT STANDARD FOR SUFFERING
1 Peter 2:21-23 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. (ESV)
Christians have been called to persecution and suffering, whether in society, the workplace or any other realm of life (2:20–21a). In all forms of suffering, we must look to Christ as our standard, their example. For Him, the path to glory was the path of suffering (Luke 24:25–26), and the pattern is the same for His followers.
-Do you see that v. 21 says that this is why we were called. This is why we are saved. This is one reason why the prosperity Gospel is a false one. It is a bait and switch. It is what Satan does. The lie is that sin will satisfy. The result, is that sin delivers greater pain and suffering.
-Why don’t we tell people that God is a cosmic Santa Clause that exists to make them happy, healthy and wealthy? It is the message that people think they want to hear. It is the message that will sell the most books and fill the greatest stadiums.
-Because those who are called unto salvation will encounter persecution and trials. When it happens, what do we say? When the greatest bait and switch in the universe is revealed, people are left without hope, without anything. The lie will not sustain at this point, but Christ will, so we proclaim Christ and Him crucified.
Peter’s phrase that Christ also suffered for you certainly recalls the reality of His efficacious, substitutionary, sin-bearing death—His redemptive suffering. His redemptive suffering as the one sacrifice for sin has no parallel in His followers’ sufferings. But there are features of His suffering that do provide an example for them to follow in their own sufferings.
-For instance, in a complete breach of justice and goodness, He was crucified as a criminal (Isa. 53:12; Matt. 27:38) even though He committed no crime (1:19; cf. Isa. 53:9; John 8:46; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 7:26).