World English Bible translation
2:21For to this were you called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps, 2:22 who did not sin, "neither was deceit found in his mouth." 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, didn't revile back. When he suffered, didn't threaten, but committed himself to him who judges righteously; 2:24 who his own self bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live to righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed. 2:25 For you were going astray like sheep; but are now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Peter has been writing to Christians who were beginning to undergo persecution. He had instructed them to love one another fervently and to put away both the sins that divide the Christian community and also the sins that bring the Christian community into disrepute. Then he began actually instructing them on how they should deal with their persecutions. He began by telling them all that they must obey the civil authorities. They must honor the king and his governors. Then he instructed servants that they must submit themselves to their masters even when their masters are wicked.
Peter surely knew that such teaching is difficult to put into practice. In order to help them to understand the principles he is writing about he gives them the example of Jesus. In so doing, some of the most inspiring words about our Savior are written here.
Peter tells them that Christ also suffered and He left them an example of how they should live and endure suffering. The first example that Peter gives them was that even though Christ suffered, He did not use His suffering as an excuse for sin. He did not sin, "neither was deceit found in his mouth." When He was reviled and when He was made to suffer, He did not allow such things to break Him.
What Christ did do was to commit Himself to God. Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God before the foundation of the world. He did not allow His time in this world, which He knew would be brief, to distract Him from His eternal mission. God was, through Christ, reconciling Himself to the world. So Jesus put the needs of the Father in first place. Everything that He did was in order to achieve the goals that God had given Him.
So Christ bore our sins on the cross. He died to sin once and for all and was raised to righteousness. We, who through faith are united with Him, die and are raised with Him. We are healed because He was willing to undergo our punishment. By His stripes we are healed.
Peter uses another common image of our Lord here. We are like sheep that were going astray. Jesus Christ is the shepherd that God sent to round up His sheep. Jesus did not come to enjoy His time in this world, though no doubt He did at times. He did not come to make friends, though no doubt He made some. He came to round up God's sheep even though He knew that He would have to lay down His life for these wayward sheep.
For these reasons Christ is our example for how to endure suffering. First, He lived a holy life in the midst of suffering. Second, He did not allow His suffering to distract Him from the job that His Father had sent Him to accomplish. Third, He accomplished what He was sent to do, even to the point of giving up His life to accomplish it.
In the same way God wants us to endure suffering when we need to do so. We are to live holy lives, even when enduring persecution. We are to focus on the things that God has promised and keep an eternal perspective. And most important, we are to endure in faith even unto death.
If we do these things, we will be living stones aligned with our cornerstone. We will be the sheep of God's pasture. We will be healed by the stripes of Christ. We will have endured by the power of God.
Are you ready for the challenge that Peter is throwing down? Are you prepared to allow God to turn your sorrows into joy?
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