Example

1 Peter 2:21–23  Suffering and Pain.

Christ Is Our Example

21 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, 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth23 [a]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;

Suffering is not really a topic that most people want to embrace and talk about. The Bible is the only book I know that deals with suffering in a God centered view, not a human centered view. The apostle Peter in this section of his 1st Epistle above points out above that we Christians will suffer in this world.  The Bible is quite genuine when it comes to the problem of endured suffering. Job is an entire book in the Bible dealing with the problem. The book of Job starts in heaven.  Job’s suffering is because God disputed with Satan. Job loses almost everything in life and his friends show up to explain to Job why he is suffering, of course they all struggle to explain Job’s suffering from the perspective of their ignorance. Job rejects his friends' opinions and he  rests in nothing but the faithfulness of God and the hope of His redemption. Neither Job nor his friends understood at the time the reasons for his suffering. In fact, when Job finally has the chance to discuss the issue of his suffering with the Lord, Job is silent. Job’s silent response does not in any way trivialize the intense pain and loss he had so patiently endured. Rather, it underscores the importance of trusting God’s purposes in the midst of suffering, even when we don’t know what those purposes are.

We Christians trust in and serve Jesus Christ. He lived on this earth and endured trauma, temptation, bereavement, torture, hunger, thirst, persecution and a death of the most excruciating kind, crucifixion. Christ experienced physical pain as well as feelings of rejection and abandonment. He experienced the same suffering as many people today who know the bitterness of isolation, pain, and anguish. Some people will say that those suffering must be out of God’s will. That is just nonsense. Everything that Jesus did was perfectly within God’s will, yet He still suffered and suffered unjustly.

Some points about suffering: 

  1. It can be multilayered
  2. The church is meant to be a refuge for those suffering.
  3. Through our own suffering we are able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God
  4. Wherever there is suffering, we are called to lean on the example of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  5. Suffering prepares Christians for more Glory.

Let me close with this observation.  Paul says in Galatians 6:2 that we are to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  I am glad that we as a congregation have and continue to help each other by lovingly reaching out to help one another in need. Continue to pray for those suffering and remember that we have Christ as our example who knows our pain and is able to bring us through the trials because he went before us.

Amen

Matt Schneider 

 

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