In today’s world we hear a lot about the need for role models. It may be that society is beginning to understand that living without boundaries leads to social anarchy. Concerned parents are looking for individuals who in their lives demonstrate those qualities of character they admire and want their children to emulate. A few years ago Tim Tebow, the much discussed quarterback in professional football, served in that capacity. His open and unashamed commitment to Christ was refreshing in today’s world (at least for evangelicals).
In 1 Peter 2:18-21 the apostle presents Jesus Christ as the ultimate role model but puts it in a context that would give many some hesitation about following that kind of leader. Peter is discussing suffering and the Christian life. He reminds his readers that while suffering for bad conduct has no specific value, if you “suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God” (v. 20). Now there is a challenge! You do the right thing and take the abuse . . . and that pleases God? That’s right — and in Christ we have the perfect example of that way of living. The following verse tells us that Christ’s suffering leaves us an example that we are to follow.
If ever there was a man who suffered unjustly it was he. Never did he respond to his adversaries with anything but love. Never did he yield to the tendency to defend himself. What he did do was to show us most vividly how we are to meet opposition in the world. And that is to not retaliate.
Now there is an example to follow. Instead of defending ourselves at every turn we are to humbly present ourselves to God for whatever he has in mind. Should that involve suffering, Rejoice! He is our example, our template, on how to live. The big picture is to renounce self and open ourselves to the task of showing the world the beauty of the Christian way of living, even in spite of the suffering it may well involve.