Maybe the first impulse we have in time of danger is to flee or fight back. Something else was in Jesus to willingly undergo the torture of the cross. Jesus didn’t do whatever He could do to save His own life. We were on His mind. Our need was His concern.
When Peter is reminding the Christians to stand firm in time of distress, he reminds them of the suffering of Christ. “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,” – 1 Pt. 2:21. Jesus suffered for them and so they ought to remain faithful in the face of difficulties from the enemy.
All suffering is not the same. There is some suffering that is the consequence to bad decisions, sins. There is the suffering of childbirth and labor that is the consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin. There is the suffering of being deprived of necessities or from being exposed to the elements. Many people suffer because they are hungry or cold. But the suffering of Jesus Christ was different. He suffered for us. “WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;” – 1 Pt. 2:22. Jesus endured suffering for us.
The purpose or design of persecution is to silence. The Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus silenced Him – they attempted to by putting Him to death. He arose on the third day showing the futility of their scheme. Jesus endured all of it because He entrusted Himself to His Father in heaven. “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;” – 1 Pt. 2:23. Likewise, Christians are going to be challenged in their faith and pressure will be brought to bear. This is not the time to flee or lash out. It is time to trust God and do His will.
The world sees the righteousness of Jesus Christ as the enemy. Christians are to be the “light of the world” but the world is always saying, “Put that light out or we’ll put it out for you.” Don’t let it get to you. Believers need to remain faithful because Jesus suffered for us to take away our sin and that we would live righteously. Peter writes, “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” – 1 Pt. 2:24. Jesus suffered for us that we might live righteous lives. This kind of living stands out in a crowd and the enemies of Christ can’t hardly stand it. A Christian should expect that there will be opposition and not allow it to move him from being faithful to Jesus Christ.
There was a time when we would have given up or given in to the pressure. There was a time in the past when what mattered most was comfort or living another day. But this is not right. “For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” – 1 Pt. 2:25. If we give in today and run from the Truth of Jesus Christ, we will stray again for the Shepherd of our souls. If we give in and shut up at the slightest pressure from the enemy, we turn away from the one who loves us more than His own life. When times get hard, just remember Jesus went to the cross. He suffered for me and you.