By Bruce Reeves
Many times when we are trying to teach a person how to do something the best method to use is to give them an example. Have you ever tried to explain how to tie a neck tie? It is fairly simple to show someone how to do so but it is difficult to teach him without an example.
Jesus in coming to the earth did many things that stand out and I certainly am not capable of enumerating them all! But there are two things he did that stand out especially: (1) He sacrificed himself as the atonement for our sins, and (2) He offered an example of what man should be. We often times say, “Jesus was God as he is and man as he ought to be.”
One of the most difficult things to reconcile in our minds as Christians is the fact that we must suffer persecution due to our faith in Christ. In discussing our need to maintain our faith in times of tribulation, Peter points to the example and sacrifice of Jesus to give us renewed courage and de-termination. Let us consider Jesus: Our Example and Sacrifice.
Peter writes, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously: Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes we are healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls” (1 Pet. 2:21-25).
All Godly In Christ Jesus Will Suffer Persecution
If we are living for Christ, standing for the truth and opposing error we will encounter difficult times (1 Pet. 3:8-17; 4:1-4, 12-16). Jesus had enemies, not because of any failure on his part, but because he told the truth. Paul re-marked, “Do I make you my enemy because I tell you the truth?”
Jesus, Our Master, Suffered Greatly
Jesus suffered greatly, but in doing so he offered us an example of how to deal with our own difficulties (1 Pet. 2:21). “The servant is not greater than his master” (John 15:15-25). If we are following the Son of God we will suffer!
We are told by Peter that Jesus is our example. The word example comes from the Greek word hupogrammon which means “to copy or to pattern.” , Peter also tells us to “walk in His steps.” The original word for steps means “foot-prints.” We are to follow his lead!
How Is Jesus My Example?
Although Jesus unjustly suffered, he did not sin. “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth” (I Pet. 2:22). We all have the natural desire of self preservation and when we are persecuted there is the inclination to retaliate. Jesus was not some masochist that received some unnatural joy from pain, but he denied himself to do the will of his Father.
The Scripture says that when he was reviled, he reviled not again” (1 Pet. 2:23). Could he have? Did he have the capability to do so? What is the force of the statement if he had no choice? How did Jesus have the strength to not re-vile again? He committed himself to his Father; this is something he did constantly.
There Is Temptation In Suffering
Jesus understands what it is to suffer. “Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a faithful and merciful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted” (Heb. 2:17-18).
When one is falsely accused and misrepresented, there is great temptation to retaliate but Jesus did not do so. The Jews accused him of being a devil, wine bibber, glutton, in league with Beelzebub, blasphemer, and violator of the law. They ridiculed his claims, heaped scorn on his head and spit in his face.
Jesus Is Our Sacrifice
Jesus’ passion went beyond just being our example. He is our sacrifice (1 Pet. 2:24-25). He died that we might live unto righteousness. Without his sacrifice we would have no hope whatsoever! The least we can do is give ourselves to him in heart and soul.
Guardian of Truth XLI: 13 p. 20-21
July 3, 1997