Studies in Hebrews, 1 & 2 Peter
36. 1 Peter 2:19-25 - Suffering Unfairly
“It is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God” (verses 19-20). God takes note of our suffering, and he will compensate us for it.
Unjust suffering is nothing new, and should not be too much of a surprise. “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ [Isaiah 53:9] When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:21-23).
Jesus shows us that if we suffer unjustly, we should not retaliate or make threats. Rather, we are to trust in God. However, the example Jesus set is also that when other people are suffering, we try to do something about it.
Peter then digresses with comments about Jesus, quoting phrases from Isaiah 53:4-6: “‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’ For ‘you were like sheep going astray,’ but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:24-25).
Our sins were placed on Jesus, and our mortal wounds were healed by his unjust suffering. The purpose was that we would turn away from sin and live in a right way. Once we were cut off from God by our sins. But due to his mercy, we have been restored. That was the healing that we needed most of all.
Something to think about
- If suffering is commendable, should we try to avoid it? (verse 20)