1 Peter 2 Lesson

How To Handle Suffering | The Perfect Example Of Jesus

SUFFERING IS A PART OF LIFE

There is nothing in the Bible that says that life on earth is going to be easy. Suffering is a part of life, especially for Christians.  If anybody became a Christian because they thought that would make their lives easy, they are in for a surprise!  In this life, all of us, including Jesus and His Apostles will have to endure some form of suffering.

Paul wrote about this in his second letter to Timothy:

To be persecuted means, “To subject to hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of their race or political or religious beliefs.” (Source: Google dictionary)

THE SUFFERING OF JESUS

Those who follow Jesus are going to suffer. As Christians, we will, at times, be on the receiving end of hostility and ill-treatment. Think about how Jesus was treated!  His life was anything but easy, even before the crucifixion.  However, He persevered through every challenge that came His way and remained steadfast in His commitment to follow His Father’s commands. 

  • “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.” – 1 Peter 2:21.

HOW JESUS HANDLED SUFFERING

Peter did a fantastic job of describing how Jesus handled suffering. It is this example that we are to follow:

  • “Since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.” – 1 Peter 2:21-23.

When we suffer, we need to think about the following three bullet points and strive to be like Jesus in our reaction to the circumstances that we are in:

  1. When people reviled Jesus (to criticize in an abusive or hostile way), He did not revile in return,
  2. While suffering, Jesus uttered no threats,
  3. Jesus entrusted Himself to God.

When we are attacked with words, Jesus does not want us to retaliate.  In His sermon on the mount, Jesus said:

  • “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” – Mathew 5:38-39.  

This will seem odd to most people.   It will not be the response that they are expecting, and that is the point. Christians are not supposed to “go with the flow,” or do what everyone else is doing. Our actions are meant to do two things:

  1. Glorify God,
  2. Serve others.

By following Jesus’ example in suffering, we allow ourselves to be the light and the salt that He created to be, and God’s light shines through us. (Mathew 5:13-16).

CONCLUSION

All of us are going to suffer. Suffering is a part of life, especially for the Christian. When we suffer, God wants us to stand out in the world by not reacting to suffering the way that the world does. In short, He wants us to follow the example of Jesus:

  1. When people reviled Jesus, He did not revile in return,
  2. While suffering, Jesus uttered no threats,
  3. Jesus entrusted Himself to God.

  • “For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.”1 Peter 2:19.

When those that have power or authority over us are treating us badly, the world is expecting us to retaliate. But that is not what Jesus did. And that is not what the Bible teaches us to do. Followers of Jesus are to follow His perfect example. Our behavior may seem strange or different to a world that is caught up in sin, and that is ok. We serve a higher purpose, and we have a higher calling to react in a way that is pleasing to God and brings glory to Him.

We will end today’s lesson by revisiting the following verse:

  • “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth;  and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.  For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” – 1 Peter 2:21-25.

Comments

Michael

I hope as I get older, I am wiser and more mature. Today's lesson brought home how God wants me to turn the other cheek, even when it is difficult to do so.

"Turning the other cheeck" is something I had trouble with when I was younger. Now that I am older, I focus more on setting my mind on things above and not on the things of this world, so turning the other cheek comes much easier.

For me, it is about having a gentle spirit.

Nothing anyone can say or do to me has any impact on how much Jesus loves me or what God's plan is for me.

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Tommy

Newborn babes desire milk out of instinct. They just somehow know they need it. I think what the scripture is telling us is that at our core, we know we need God and Jesus. We should just accept it like a baby accepts milk, and not get hung up on worldly lusts, possessions, etc.

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