Follow in Jesus’ Steps

We should not be surprised that God turns the values of the world upside down.

His Son was born in a stable, not a king’s castle. He was revealed to shepherds, rather than priests and high governmental officials.

He entrusted the message of his kingdom to common ordinary people. He charged the lowest-status people, slaves and women, to witness to his greatness.

Here is how Peter counseled his audience of resident aliens to reveal the majesty of the Lord.

Slaves, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only those who are good and gentle but also those who are dishonest (1 Peter 2.18).

Slaves didn’t have the right to confront their masters, but their Christ-like example would speak volumes. They were to be a witness to the masters and all in the house.

The outsiders of any society are subject to injustices and oppression. God flips culture’s script. He uses the oppressed to reveal his plan and purpose for humanity.

For it is a commendable thing if, being aware of God, a person endures pain while suffering unjustly.

If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that? But if you endure when you do good and suffer for it, this is a commendable thing before God (1 Peter 2.19-20).

True to form, the way God reveals his greatness is through slaves, outsiders, and other low-status humans.

Jesus’ Example

When I was studying this passage, verse 21 caught my attention for two key reasons.

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps (1 Peter 2.21).

(1) This verse begins the most extensive treatment of Isaiah 53 in the New Testament.

It is the only place in the New Testament where Isaiah 53 is so completely connected to explain Jesus’ death.

(2) The Greek for “example” refers to “the exact pattern of alphabetic letters on wax tablets that children traced to learn their letters” (Ben Witherington III).

Here’s what caught my attention. If children trace patterns to learn their letters, shouldn’t believers trace the life of Christ over and over to learn how to live like him?

This thought has caused me to return once again to the Gospels. I am studying them and praying about what I read because the basis for the Christian life is Christ himself.

What was the pattern of Christ’s life?

Isaiah 53 outlines a pattern of Christ’s life that all persons – slaves, women (see chapter 3), and resident aliens – should follow.

Free from Sin

Jesus never did anything wrong, but was punished as one of the worst slaves or humans would have been punished.

“He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.” (1 Peter 2.22)

Only Jesus was completely free from sin. As we pattern our lives after him, we will strive to be free from sin.

No Retaliation

Jesus didn’t have to retaliate, because rested his case in the hands of the One True Judge, God.

When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly (1 Peter 2.23).

This is Jesus’ pattern. We are to learn it and follow in his steps.

Suffering and Healing

Sins are a burden that Jesus lifts from human beings. He defeats his enemies (sinners) by making them his friends.

He suffered and carried our burdens, so he could heal us from the inside out.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed (1 Peter 2.24).

To accept Christ means to accept his way of life.

People who suffer like Jesus and forgive like their Savior are uniquely qualified to bring healing to the world.

Return to the Shepherd

Peter wrote verse 25 with his experience of being restored by Jesus in mind (see John 21).

Just as he was forgiven and restored, he encourages his readers to come to Jesus the Good Shepherd.

For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls (1 Peter 2.25).

Recommended reading for this verse is John 21 and Ezekiel 34.

My hope for readers of today’s blog is that we will trace the life of Jesus over and over so that we will walk in his steps more and more.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I continue our discussion of 1 Peter on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.

Please email your prayer request to The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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