An example in suffering: 2/3 April 2014

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously. — 1 Peter 2: 21–23

Message

Jesus is to be our example in suffering and in dealing with disappointments and injustice. Passiontide is that time of the church year when Jesus Christ comes very near to us in His humanity. In spirit we feel with Him when we recall how He suffered pain and torment, how He suffered injustice, how He suffered hatred and abasement, and how He was betrayed and abandoned. In the process, He has left us an example which is to provide orientation for us when we suffer injustice or when we find ourselves in circumstances that cause our souls to suffer. The reference that we are to follow His steps in our own suffering is not to be understood to mean that we are to suffer like Jesus Christ: no matter what comes our way, it is on a completely different level and can never compare to that which He who committed no sin suffered on our behalf. Rather, the notion of following Him in suffering relates to the attitude that Jesus demonstrated in His sufferings, and which serves as an example to us.

Core Points

Passiontide reminds us of the exemplary manner in which Jesus bore His sufferings.

  • He suffered as a result of rejection and repudiation, but nevertheless remained merciful and compassionate toward the sinner. Let us not ascribe evil to others either!
  • In His most difficult hours He found no support even among His most trusted followers. Nevertheless, He loved His disciples to the end. Let us likewise never give up our love for others.
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