For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;
and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;
and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
– 1 Peter 2:21-24 NASB
The line in all capital letters is a quotation from the Old Testament – in this case, Isaiah 53:9. (On various days over the last three weeks we have focused on verses 3, 6, and 7 of Isaiah 53.) Peter was an eyewitness of the crucifixion that Isaiah had prophesied some seven centuries before; therefore, both men are testifying to the reality of Jesus’ sufferings.
What is Peter trying to convey to his readers about these sufferings? First of all, he personalizes Jesus’ suffering by saying He “suffered for you” and “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross” and “by His wounds you were healed.” Peter is emphasizing that Jesus endured the cross for us and because of us. Jesus had no sins of His own that would have justified His crucifixion. It was all on account of sinful humanity, and as a result of those who wrongfully accused, convicted, and killed Him. Love alone had put Jesus in harm’s way.
Second, Peter is pointing out the way that Jesus suffered: “He did not revile in return” and “He uttered no threats.” And confirming the prophecy of Isaiah, Peter writes that no deceit was found in Jesus’ mouth and that He committed no sin during this travesty done to Him. To put it more pointedly, Jesus kept His mouth under control throughout the unwarranted duress.
Thirdly, Peter is telling us that Jesus is our example to follow. In other words, this is the degree to which we are called to love others. If Jesus was willing to endure the gruesome experience of the cross for us, should we not be willing to endure the relatively minor irritations, slights, and inconveniences thrown into our paths by those we are called to love?
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Our Lord and Father, thank You for the example You gave us. Show me how I can better handle suffering that comes my way…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.