Devotional for Friday, June 15, 2012
Twilight: Christ, Our Substitute and Example
by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Peter's first epistle is addressed to "strangers in the world," who have their homeland in heaven. They are not surprised that they suffer when they do what is right. They follow the footprints of Jesus.
1 Peter 2:18–21
Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps (1 Pet. 2:21).
Peter encourages Christian slaves to be patient in suffering. He motivates them by stating in one sentence what Jesus did for them and for us: Christ suffered in our place and left us an example so we can suffer the way he did.
These are the two things the church must teach and practice. First and most important, we teach that Jesus suffered and died for our sins. He did not suffer for sins he had committed but for your sins and mine. This means we will not be punished for our sins, because Jesus paid the price. He was our substitute.
The second thing we must teach and practice is that Jesus is our example. Jesus suffering in our place does not mean we don't have to suffer. Rather, Jesus taught us how to suffer. And now, when we "follow in his steps," our suffering takes on a new dimension. We are never closer to Jesus than when we suffer for doing good. Christian suffering is a privilege. The early Christians rejoiced when "they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name" (Acts 5:41).
When I was young, I was taught that "liberals" regard Jesus as merely a good man and an example for living. My parents and teachers emphasized that he is our Savior, who died for our sins. I am deeply thankful for their teaching. But Jesus is not only our substitute; he is also our example.