1 Peterby David Burge
Sometimes, parents need to prepare their child to go through painful things. For instance, they may have to explain to their child that a doctor will need to remove a limb or do a skin graft. With this letter, Peter is likewise preparing his loved ones for suffering.
Peter understands that when he instructs servants to submit to their masters (1 Peter 2:18-20), and wives to submit to their own husbands (3:1-6), he may be asking no easy thing. In today's passage, Peter therefore provides further reasons to help Christians understand the importance of submission. We saw in previous days that we submit to others for the Lord's sake, out of reverence for Him, and because it is a gracious thing in God's sight.
Today, we see that submission also makes us more like the Lord Jesus!
We are called to this submission ″because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps″ (2:21). We follow the footsteps of One who suffered for us. His suffering was not only to save us, but was also the model of a godly life.
In verses 22 to 23, Peter describes Jesus the suffering servant using the words of Isaiah 53:7 and 9 to make his point. Jesus' suffering was neither deserved nor fair-He was sinless and without deceit. And when mistreated, He neither retaliated nor threatened His oppressors. How could Jesus do that? How could He relinquish His right to demand better treatment?
Verse 23 provides the impressive answer: it was because ″he entrusted himself to him who judges justly″. Jesus knew His life was in God's sovereign hands. He trusted God enough to trust His Father's justice, even while enduring the bitter injustice of a world that spurns its Creator and Saviour.
In today's news we often see constant retaliatory fighting between political and religious groups. Insults and bombs are thrown in response to insults and bombs coming the other way. But Jesus' disciples are to be like their Master, who told Peter to put his sword away (Matthew 26:52), and to respond to persecutors with the opposite spirit (5:43-45).
Remarkably, Christians love and pray for their enemies! With Jesus' life within us, we can even rejoice and consider ourselves blessed when people persecute us for bearing Jesus' name (v. 10). Through our suffering, we more closely resemble the One who so kindly suffered for us.
Life can feel unfair, disappointing, or just out of control. In what situations might you imitate Jesus by entrusting yourself to Him who judges justly?
What changes might that require of you, and how might you draw strength from God and His people?