Key Verse: “For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:19-21
Cast your mind back with me to your school days. Do you remember learning to write? If you were anything like me, you would have had handwriting sheets which contained a letter on top in bold, and then a series of lines underneath where we were to copy the letter above. The word Peter uses here for ‘example’ is just that. It comes from Greek elementary education system and describes the way children learned to write. The master’s line at the top was the “pattern” the children must copy to learn how to write. Peter’s is showing us that Jesus’ suffered not only to redeem us, but as an example that we should imitate when we suffer unjust treatment.
The second part of Peter’s statement says ‘follow in his steps.’ Like the child who is attempting to walk in the prints his father left in the sand, our call is also to walk in Christ’s step.
If we are honest, there are fewer tasks are harder to accomplish than to treat those who mistreat us as we would like to be treated and even loving them. We want to treat others back as badly as we have been treated. The good news is we have not been left to ourselves. We have been given the Holy Spirit to empower us to endure suffering. We have been given the Bible to teach how to live and Christ as the perfect example.
Following Jesus is easy when life runs smoothly, but our commitment to Him is revealed and built during trials. Jesus assured us that trials will come to His followers (John 16:33). True discipleship demands sacrifice, and Jesus never hid that cost. Jesus command is to “Take up your cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24)
Jesus left us the perfect example. Paul writes “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2.