Our Purpose is What?!
1 Peter 2:21-25
Day 18, January 18, 2013, Friday
“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you leaving you an example to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 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; 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. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:21-25
Yesterday we talked about how important the “context” of our lives is to understanding God’s purpose for the hard times we face. Today, I want to revisit that conversation from Jesus’ point of view and see what we can learn about him.
1 Peter 2:21 opens with, “For you have been called for this purpose.” For what purpose? To understand the “this” in the sentence, you have to jump back to verse 20 which says, “For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.”
So Peter is saying that my purpose on this earth as a Christian is to suffer unjustly and patiently endure it?
Throughout the New Testament we are encouraged to be like Jesus. If we really understand that, we’ll realize that to be like Jesus means we will be called to suffer as he suffered. No, we may not be crucified, but our lives will be marked by unjust suffering giving us the opportunity to patiently endure it.
Several years ago a man I respected landed in the middle of a political firestorm. The media and citizens of his community jumped all over him hurling criticism and personal insults at him because of a decision he made as a police officer. Eventually, he was forced to resign from the work that he loved because people had become so enraged at him that he put the rest of his department in jeopardy. The people complained about his choice, but the reality was that he was targeted, not for his decision, but because he was an outspoken Christian.
As I prayed for him, Matthew 5:11-12 kept coming to mind: “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way the persecuted the prophets who were before you.” He was suffering unjustly, because that is our purpose as Christians.
Don’t believe it?
Look at the descriptions of Jesus’ life from this passage and a couple of others I added in to see the pattern we have been given:
Jesus committed no sin
Jesus did not revile when reviled
Jesus uttered no threats when suffering
Jesus entrusted himself to his Father
Jesus bore our sins on the cross
Jesus did not grasp equality with God
Jesus emptied Himself
Jesus took the form of a bond-servant
Jesus was made in the likeness of men
Jesus humbled Himself
Jesus despised the shame
Jesus was forsaken by men
Jesus was despised
Jesus was a man of sorrows
Jesus was acquainted with grief
Jesus was afflicted
Jesus was pierced through
Jesus was crushed for our iniquities
Jesus was an innocent man…
Pilate found nothing worthy of condemnation in Jesus’ life, yet Jesus was crucified anyway.
The context of Jesus’ life was service, sacrifice, and suffering.
Do I really expect my life to be any different?
1 Peter 4:1 “Therefore since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also, with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.”
1 Peter 4:12-13 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing…”
Lord Jesus, help me when I face things that seem unjust to entrust myself to you. Help me to embrace my context of suffering, not as a victim of it, but as a conqueror over it. Let the challenges I face today be an encouragement to others who have grown weary and lost heart.
Considering Jesus Challenge Passage for Tomorrow January 19, 2013:
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
© Copyright, 2013 by Donna Tallman.