“Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps”
(2 Peter 2:21, NIV).
Our Lord Jesus Christ was the Prince of sufferers. Here, as in all else, He was preeminent (surpassing all others). We tend to conceive of His sufferings mainly in the realm of the physical, but so intense were His spiritual sufferings that physical pain could have been almost a relief.
He was a sinless Sufferer. Note the juxtaposition of the two thoughts: Christ “suffered for you… He committed no sin” (1 Peter 2:21-22). His sinlessness only added to the poignancy of His sufferings. Suffering can mean much or little according to the nature of the person. An unmusical person does not perceive a discord, but to the sensitive musician, it causes exquisite pain. Neglect is not keenly felt when love is lacking. In the human nature of the Master, passion had not done its ugly work, nor had His powers become atrophied through neglect. It is the holy person who feels sin most keenly.
He was a sensitive Sufferer. Jesus was the essence of refinement and sensitivity. He possessed all the gentler graces as well as all the innocence of manhood. He was by nature a sensitive person. How He must have suffered when denounced as a deceiver and a liar (see John 7:12); a blasphemer (Matthew 9:3); in league with the devil (see John 8:52); a glutton and a drunkard (Luke 7:34). Jesus was really human, and these charges occasioned Him intense suffering. His suffering was real, not a theatrical display; and these verbal accusations pierced more deeply than the crown of thorns.
He was a sacrificed Sufferer. The substitutionary element in Christ’s death is prominent in this paragraph. “Christ suffered from you… ‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:21, 24). He not only pardoned our sins but took them away. How amazing that the blood that stained the soldier’s spear was the sole remedy for the soldier’s sin! Whoever dreamed of the crime procuring salvation? And His death was not only vicarious but voluntary. He was led, not dragged to the cross.
He was a silent Sufferer. “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats” (1 Peter 2:23). He harbored no spirit of retaliation. Like an aromatic leaf, the crushing only released the fragrance. Not a word of complaint crossed His lips. Instead He “entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.