CHRIST’S EXAMPLE . . . In and Out of Context

“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. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 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.” (I Peter 2:21-23b from 1 Peter 2:11-25 )

I was ready to extol this passage as an example of powerful teaching applicable to all people, and then I reviewed what I wrote five years ago, and that reminded that the writer of I Peter put into the context of how slaves should relate to their masters. “For to this you have been called” is a cruel statement to make to slaves, or at least it is to my way of thinking.

But supposing we widen this context and say we, humanity, are all slaves to something. What keeps us bound and forces us to live out our lives under circumstances that we would not wish for? Do we really believe we are “called” to this?

But supposing we widen it even further and say we are slaves to sin and slaves to suffering the “human condition” – how ever you want to define that. Now, are we called to that?

We are. We are human and being human means all of us have to content with hunger and thirst, pain and want, disappointment and death. For who among us rich or poor, old or young, male or female, powerful or marginalized – for who among us has to come up against a situation that tries us to the limits of our being. Even Christ suffered like that. But he committed no sin in all of that suffering. He did not turn against those who made him suffer. Instead he relied totally and completely on God. And beyond that, he took on all the missteps that we have made or will ever make because of what we “hav been called” and what we suffer under. His wounds heal us, in body and in spirit.

May you gentle reader lean on Christ our Lord this day, and every day, depending on the son of God who started out as we did, as a new born babe. And may you follow his footsteps, finding healing and example in them. Selah! And shalom for your day.