1 Peter 2:21-25
21 For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps. 22 He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth; 23 when He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He was suffering, He did not threaten but entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly. 24 He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; you have been healed by His wounds. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps.
—1 Peter 2:21
Remember when you were little and you played the game Follow the Leader? Someone would raise a hand wildly and line up in the front of the line, then the rest would fall in behind doing whatever crazy things the leader decided to do. Sometimes you wanted to follow, sometimes you didn't.
It’s not too different from this life of following Christ. There are some places He takes us we really enjoy. You know the moments, the ones where the promotion comes and the accolades of a job well done are given. Or the ones when all the kids arrive safe for the holidays and family gatherings go off without a fight, hurt feelings, or exceptional amounts of drama. We love these moments.
Then there are others. The moments when the man or woman down the hall gets the promotion—the one we actually did all of the work for. Or the moments when not everyone makes it home for the holidays because of the cross words that cut so deep it seems the wounds will never heal. Yeah, these are the times following the leader is far less appealing. Unless, of course, He’s leading us into places where we can right the wrongs, declare the injustices, hold onto the bitterness.
But this leader, this Jesus, this lover of our soul, bearer of our sins, wearer of our stripes—this Jesus calls us to a higher place. In fact, He left us an example so that we should follow His steps. And mighty big steps they are “who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth.”
Granted perfection isn't attainable in earthly bodies, we know this. But Jesus is always the example, and His sinless life the ceaseless model. His was a life that, when reviled, criticized, or attacked, didn't criticize or attack back. It was a life who, when called to endure extreme suffering beyond anything we could possibly imagine, never made a threat to those who inflicted the pain.
Why? Super Human? Yes. He's God. God in flesh. But even more than that is where He committed Himself—or better yet, to whom He committed Himself. "...But committed Himself to Him who judges righteously:"
I’ve learned that people who walk around with hearts shut down to their anger are hearts that have believed the lie that "God isn't just, so I need to be." No. God is and always has been just. He loves justice. He’s "just in all His ways."
But God calls us to something higher and holier. He calls us to be like Him. In fact, He bore our sin for this purpose, that we "might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed."
God gave us with the salvation of Jesus, the ability to live righteously, which often means something different than my want-to. God is asking us to follow the leader, Jesus, and trust that no matter how painful the accusation or the oversight, that our confidence in all of the wrongs being made right is in the fact that God is just.
God does win. Truth will eventually reveal itself. And lies will inevitably be exposed. But in the in-between time, we’re still called to live by the example set before us. And in Jesus every wound that can be seen and even those in our deep down hidden places will be healed.
I don't know about you, but if a leader can do all of that, then that’s one I’m more than willing to follow.
- When’s the last time someone criticized or wounded you with their words or actions? How did you want to get even?
- How do you think you could respond that would give God the most glory and reveal that you are truly a follower of Jesus?
- I’ve learned that one of the best ways to maintain a heart of forgiveness is to bring someone who has hurt or wounded me, quickly to my Father in prayer. This keeps my heart far more tender as I ask Him to help me see them through His eyes. Because I have learned that "hurt people hurt people." Ask God to help you see them through His eyes. And then thank Him for the stripes He bore for the healing of your deepest hurts.