I Peter 2:21-25

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

THE VICARIOUS SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST

INTRODUCTION:

 

            1:1-12             – God has saved us

1:13-16– Believers should live holy lives

1:17-21– Believers should have reverence toward God

1:22-25– Believers should love their fellow-believers

            2:1-3               – Believers should be growing spiritually

            2:4-10             – Believers have many privileges

2:11-20– Believers have many responsibilities

 

Our responsibilities include:

Abstaining from fleshly lusts – 2:11

Having our behavior honest – 2:12

Submitting to every human authority God has placed over us – 2:13-15

Not using our liberty as a covering for doing evil – 2:16

Honoring all people (i.e. esteeming all people highly) – 2:17

Loving fellow-believers – 2:17

Fearing God – 2:17

Honoring the king – 2:17

Believing slaves must be subject to their masters – 2:18

Endure although suffering – 2:19-20

Have you ever suffered for something even though you were innocent?

 

I Peter 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

 

Verses 21-25 continue the theme of why believing slaves should do what is right and, if they suffer for it, take it patiently. This truth, however, is extended to all believers. It indicates that all believers may be called upon to suffer for doing right. If this happens, they must follow the pattern of suffering which was established by the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            I.         BELIEVERS WERE CALLED UNTO WRONGFUL SUFFERING – 2:21

 

I Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

 

For introduces an explanation and is understood in the sense of because.

 

For even hereunto is because unto this, and its reference is to wrongful suffering, i.e. to suffering for doing what is good or right and taking it patiently.

 

Were ye called suggests that suffering is normal for believers.

 

Ye has specific reference to the servants or the domestic slaves mentioned in verse 18 but suggests a timeless truth which is applicable by extension to all believers everywhere.

 

The reason believers were . . . called unto this is because Christ also suffered for us. He did well; but He suffered for it, and He took it patiently. After suffering great physical abuse, Jesus was crucified on the cross in order to pay for the sins of all humanity.

 

For us indicates on behalf of us and implies substitution. In this verse, us refers to the saved people to whom Peter is writing and is applicable by extension to all believers everywhere.

 

Leaving us an example is also something that Christ did when He suffered.

 

Leaving suggests leaving behind. It suggests while leaving behind, while He left behind, or and He left behind.

 

Us refers to believers, including Peter and his readers.

 

What He left behind is an example, i.e. a pattern or a model. Originally, it signified something copied in a writing or drawing. Later it was used in the sense of an example. In the New Testament it is used only here. Peter has in mind leaving us an example or pattern for suffering. Jesus did well, and He suffered for it. He took it patiently, and He obtained God’s favor by doing so.

 

That ye should follow his steps provides the reason for Christ’s leaving an example for believers.

 

That is understood in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that.

 

Ye is you (plural) and refers to these domestic slaves in particular but to all believers by extension.

 

Should follow is used literally to mean should come after; but when used figuratively as it is in this verse, it suggests should follow after or should devote yourselves to.

 

His refers to Christ, and steps is literally footprints. In our literature steps is used in the figurative sense of footsteps. It means that believers should go the same way Jesus went. We should learn from the pattern or example He has left for us and suffer as He did, doing well, enduring the suffering, and taking it patiently.

 

Although believers in the United States of America have been spared a great deal of suffering, suffering is normal for believers.

 

John 15:18-2018 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

 

Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

 

II Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

 

Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.

 

I Thessalonians 3:3-43 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto [i.e. unto these afflictions]. 4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

 

            II.       BELIEVERS MUST FOLLOW CHRIST’S EXAMPLE IN WRONGFUL SUFFERING – 2:22-25

 

Verses 22-24 describe the suffering that the Lord Jesus Christ endured on our behalf. He did not deserve to suffer; we did. Yet, His conduct was above reproach as He endured this suffering.

 

                        1.         Christ remained completely innocent – 2:22-23

 

I Peter 2:22-2322 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.

 

Who did no sin suggests that Christ did not commit sin or that Christ was not guilty of sin. It speaks of His doing well throughout His entire lifetime rather than limiting His behavior to the time of His trial and crucifixion. Jesus never sinned. Jesus never even began to commit a single act of sin. He was sinless, spotless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.

 

Neither was guile found in his mouth.

 

Guile is deceit, craftiness, trickery, cunning, treachery, or stealth. That guile was never found in his mouth suggests that it was never found in His speech. There was not a deceitful bone in His body or deceitful word coming from His mouth, and He was never guilty of cunning or treachery.

 

                        2.         Christ remained silent – 2:23a

 

Whereas verse 22 deals with Christ’s doing well throughout His entire lifetime, verse 23 deals with His conduct during the time of His trials and crucifixion. Yet, it could possibly be said to be true of Him throughout His lifetime as well, specifically whenever the circumstances mentioned in verse 23 occurred.

 

I Peter 2:23 a – Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not . . . .

 

Who refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

When he was reviled, he reviled not again. When he was reviled has been translated as indicating time. It might instead be understood in the sense of although He was reviled. Its tense indicates that it took place at the same time as He did not revile again. It also indicates that it was an ongoing thing rather than something that happened only once and is understood in the sense of while he was being reviled or although he was being reviled.

 

Reviled means abused and suggests verbally abused. It refers to sharp, insulting, or biting talk.

 

Reviled not again suggests that He did not revile others in return for their reviling Him or that He did not verbally abuse others in return for their verbally abusing Him. The tense of reviled not again indicates continuing action in past time. It is He was not reviling in return, or He was not verbally abusing in return. He was not using sharp, insulting, or biting talk in return. In summary, although Jesus was repeatedly verbally abused, on each occasion His conduct was the same. He did not revile or verbally abuse in return. He did not use sharp, insulting, or biting talk in return.

 

When he suffered has also been translated as indicating time. It describes he threatened not. It may instead be understood in the sense of although He suffered. Its tense likewise indicates that its action occurred at the same time as he threatened not. As is true with when he was reviled, the tense of when he suffered indicates that its action was ongoing rather than something which happened only once and is understood in the sense of while he was suffering or although he was suffering.

 

He threatened not is He warned not. It, too, indicates continuing or repeated action in past time. Over and over again, whenever He suffered, He followed the same pattern for suffering: He was not threatening or He was not warning.

 

                        3.         Christ entrusted Himself to God – 2:23b

 

I Peter 2:23 b – . . . But committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.

 

What He did do is introduced by but, which introduces a contrast between the last half of verse 23 and the first half of verse 23: He committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.

 

Committed indicates handed over, gave over, delivered, or entrusted. It, too, indicates continuing or repeated action in past time in the sense of He repeatedly entrusted Himself to Him that judgeth righteously, or over and over again He delivered Himself to Him that judgeth righteously. Whenever He was reviled, whenever He suffered, rather than reviling, verbally abusing, or threatening in return, He simply committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously, i.e. to God the Father.

 

Righteously is justly, in a right manner, or uprightly. Whereas men treated the Lord Jesus Christ in an unjust manner, God the Father always deals with everyone, including the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, in an upright or righteous manner. Although verse 23 may not be limited to the activities at the trial and crucifixion, it certainly includes these activities.

 

                        4.         Christ suffered on our behalf – 2:24-25

 

I Peter 2:24-2524 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

 

Verse 24 reminds us of the supreme suffering endured by the Lord Jesus Christ Who never did any sin; yet, He suffered and endured the suffering patiently.

 

Who is the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

His own self intensifies Who, which refers to Christ. Together they are understood as Who Himself.

 

Bare is a technical term of the sacrificial system meaning to offer or to offer up.

 

Bare our sins suggests that Jesus brought our sins to the cross in His own body which He offered up as a sacrifice for our sins.

 

Sins is the word meaning transgressions or missings of the mark. The fact that the appears before sins in the Greek text makes this the specific sins we have committed or will commit and treats them as a whole. The fact that He bore our sins before we were ever born indicates that the entire body of sins committed (or still to be committed) by all of us has already been borne by Christ. It is the body of sins considered collectively. It is the sum total of all the sins we have ever committed or ever will commit in the future. He has paid in full for them all. For the believer there is nothing left to pay for.

 

In his own body has reference to the fact that His own body was crucified. It was offered up as a sacrifice for our sins.

 

On the tree refers to the cross on which Jesus was crucified.

 

That we being dead to sins should live unto righteousness indicates the purpose for which the Lord Jesus Christ bare our sins.

 

That is understood in the sense of in order that or for the purpose that.

 

Being dead to sins indicates the present condition of believers. It means having died to sins and is used to show cause. Its tense indicates that the action of having died to sins occurs before the action of should live. Should live implies something which is possible. Therefore, that we being dead to sins should live unto righteousness is understood in the sense of because we have died to sins, we have the possibility of living unto righteousness. It means that we have been enabled to live righteous lives. Before we were saved, however, we were living under the power of sin and were incapable of living righteous lives. Now we must live righteous lives just as the Lord Jesus Christ did.

 

By whose stripes ye were healed refers to Isaiah 53:5 and means by means of Whose stripes you were healed.

 

Stripes refers to the wounds or bruises caused by the beating that the Lord Jesus Christ endured. It also has reference to the wounds that He received at the crucifixion.

 

Ye is you (plural) and in the context has special reference to the servants of verse 18. However, it is also applicable to all believers.

 

Ye were healed suggests you were cured and has reference to spiritual healing. The death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross obtained the forgiveness of sin for us and does not have reference to physical healing in the atonement for the present day. Of course, we have been healed physically, but this has reference to the future. Appeals to this verse to justify divine healers in our society today misapply its intended meaning. Someday there will be no more sickness, but this day has not yet arrived.

 

I Peter 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

 

Verse 25 sums up, not only the contents of verses 21-24, but the contents of the entire chapter as well, and perhaps also of the entire epistle up to this point.

 

For introduces an explanation. The fact is that believers were at one time unsaved, without hope, without God, and on their way to a Christless eternity in hell; but the Lord Jesus Christ redeemed them out of it. Now they need to live like it.

 

Ye is you (plural) and refers to believers.

 

Were as sheep going astray is referring to Isaiah 53:6 , All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way. . . .

 

Ye were indicates continuing action in past time. This is the way we used to be all the time.

 

We were as sheep going astray, which suggests that we were being misled or that we were wandering about but going in the wrong direction.

 

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to the fact that we were as sheep going astray.

 

Believers are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

 

Now indicates at the present time.

 

Are . . . returned suggests are turned about, are returned, or were converted. Its tense suggests action which occurred at some point in time in the past, and the fact that we returned in the past suggests that we are still in the situation to which we returned, which means that we are no longer wandering away.

 

We returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. Christ is referred to as the Chief Shepherd in I Peter 5:4 . He also referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd in John 10:11 , 14.

 

I Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

 

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

 

John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

 

A shepherd is a sheep herder, one who looks after his sheep. Here, it refers to the One and only Shepherd of our souls, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

He is also referred to as the Bishop of your souls.

 

Bishop means overseer, guardian, or superintendent. He superintends our very lives, overseeing them. We need to be living for Him.

CONCLUSION:

 

Whenever we are called upon to suffer, we should suffer after the pattern established by Christ.

 

I Peter 2:22-2322 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.