1 Peter 2:19-25
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.
We live in a world where there is an emphasis on people's rights. The right for justice, protection, equality. This is quite right, although there are times when this becomes ridiculous where it descends into political correctness !
There are also times when people's perceived rights affect other people. We have had this recently when some people considered that a Norfolk farmer was justified in killing someone who was on his property intent on stealing.
Earlier in Chapter 2 Peter has written to Christians telling them to submit to the government and then telling slaves to submit to their masters whether they are fair or harsh.
We then come to our reading today.
Peter says Christian shouldn't trust in their rights when they endure unjust suffering, they should trust in God.
Goes against our natural reaction to fight or flight. To respond to the malicious words of others.
Christian alternative is to put up with it and trust in God who alone is the just judge, verse 23.
Called to trust and obey God in face of opposition.
Why ? Example of Jesus, verse 21.
Our salvation depends upon most unjust trial in history.
Our salvation depends upon Jesus being without sin, verse 22. Meant he could offer himself as a sinless offering in the place of those who were sinners.
Tree = wooden object. To the Jews if you were put to death on a tree, or wooden item such as a cross, you were under the curse of God. Our sin leads to death, separation from perfect God. Jesus bore our sins on the cross. He received our punishment and so was cursed by God in our place.
Purpose ? So we could die to sin and live for righteousness. The gift of forgiveness needs a response. To die, cut ourselves off from sin as a way of living, instead live God's way = righteous.
Our salvation depends upon our response to God's mercy. Involves repentance - define. Turning from being astray, lost, separated from God to following Jesus, the good shepherd who cares for his sheep and who has laid down his life for them.
Response to the passage today ?
Trust in God, even if leads to taunts and abuse. Trust in him because he is just and he is in control. Follow example of Jesus who endured unjust opposition and didn't retaliate but trusted in God.
Give thanks for what Jesus has done for us in dying in our place. cf H.C. service.
Daily turn from sin and live for righteousness, God's way.