1 Peter 2:18-25 (NIV) 18 Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is 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. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
On verses 18-25: Amazingly, in the face of persecution, Peter tells his people not to complain or fight against those who persecute them, but to bear with the suffering and endure it. He even says it is “commendable before God” (v19) for one to suffer for doing good and endure it while being “conscious of God” (i.e. with God in mind) (v20). What is Peter’s reason for saying all this? It’s because we are following in the footsteps of Jesus when we suffer unjustly for doing good (v21). Peter goes on to talk about the way Jesus put up with unjust suffering – how “when they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats” (v23) and entrusted himself to God who judges justly (v23). He did all this for us, bearing our sins in his body on the cross “so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became our healing.” (v24 in the Message translation) Through Jesus’ unjust suffering, we God’s stray sheep can return to our Shepherd.
What can we learn from this? Whenever we go through what we think is unjust suffering, whenever we serve God and suffer for it, remember that this is commendable before God, that we’re following in Jesus’ footsteps, and that no one has ever gone through or will ever go through as much unjust suffering as Jesus did. Remember that the most unjust suffering this world has ever witnessed (Jesus crucified and killed on a cross) led to the greatest redemption this world has ever witnessed.
Lord Jesus, thank You for enduring so much unjust suffering for our sake. Praise You for taking the most unjust suffering the world has ever seen and using it to create the greatest redemption the world has ever seen. So whenever I suffer for doing good, may I always remember that my Saviour endured unjust suffering way more than I ever will have and count it a privilege to follow in Your footsteps. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!