JESUS CHRIST OUR EXAMPLE
We find at 1 Peter 2:21,
"For you have been called for this purpose,
The word, example, translates the Greek word, hupogrammos which occurs only here in the New Testament. The word is formed from the preposition, "hupo," which means under, and "grammos" which means, writing or letter.
For example, the word scribe, is grammateus and means one who is skilled in letters or writing. This word means a "copybook" like what was used as an education tool. It provided either some image or letter to trace over, or a letter or image to "copy" underneath.
Jesus is our copybook. We focus on His image written on the pages of Scripture and seek to write it in our own life through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. As we imitate the copybook of Christ's life by "underwriting" His character in our soul, we will learn to follow in His steps and reflect His love and righteousness.
John describes this at 1 John 2:6,
"the one who says he abides in Him,
Peter continues, by giving us two "general" descriptions of Christ's life and one "specific" description.
At verse 22, we have a summary of His sinlessness.
WHO COMMITTED NO SIN: This refers to overt sin and gives us the example of moral obedience as amplified by the 10 Commandments, which provides a guideline of how the believer should treat his fellow man. Paul writes concerning this at Romans 13:9-10,
For this, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,
In application to us, we should observe "how" Jesus loved and through that, come to understand what TRUE Christian love really means instead of trying to do what society or even religion dictates as an expression of Christian love. Jesus said of his life and ministry, "I always do the things that are pleasing to Him (The Father)." (John 8:29) It is this that really fulfills Christian love and the Christian calling - to please the Father.
Paul tells us at Romans 14:17-18 (BFT),
"for the kingdom of God is not eating
Thus, as we "practice" in our COPYBOOK, we learn to become "imitators of God as beloved children" and to "walk in LOVE, just as Christ loved," (Eph. 5:1-2).
NEITHER WAS THERE ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH: Deceit is the word, dolos, and refers to the mental deception that eventually expresses itself outwardly in speech and action. This then summarizes the "character" of Christ as being always truthful, never misleading, and ever trying to meet the spiritual needs of the people around Him, and ultimately, for the whole world.
It refers to a genuine "God-centered" motivation for everything He did while here on earth.
Jesus had no "personal" agenda of selfishness or pride. He came to do the Father's will (Heb. 10:9). Indeed, every word He spoke was "the word that you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me," (John 14:24).
Just moments before He was led forth to be crucified, Jesus said to Pilate,
"For this I have been born,
At the age of 12, He was found in the temple in Jerusalem and answered the concerns of His worried parents,
"did you not know that it was necessary
At His baptism, which symbolically portrayed His dedication to doing the Father's will, Jesus told John,
"Permit it now, for in this manner,
And during His ministry,
"I have come a light into the world,
"For I have come down from heaven,
Should we not likewise cultivate a life and character that promotes God's truth in the world? Should we not be diligent to "proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His awesome light?" (1 Pet. 2:9, BFT).
Did not Jesus speak of us as "the light of the world" which should not be placed under a basket? (Mat. 5:14-16)
And Paul writes at Col. 2:14-16a, (BFT),
"Do all things without emotional reaction
At 1 Peter 2:23, Peter summarizes the character of Jesus as it was expressed during His trials and crucifixion.
AND WHILE BEING REVILED: The word, revile, means to speak abusively to someone, criticize, insult, ridicule and disdain. Verbal abuse, the trademark of both fear and arrogance, was hurled at our Lord Jesus in such a way that the offenders are described "as a ravening and roaring lion," (Psalm 22:13).
And yet, Jesus, ever relaxed, patient and loving - - -
HE DID NOT REVILE IN RETURN: He did not return "name" for "name," or "adjective" for "adjective," but instead, quite calmly pleaded, "Father, forgive them for they don't understand what they do," (Luke 23:34).
What then, of our attitude toward those who may disdain and revile us? Peter writes,
"not paying back evil for evil or insult
This indeed takes much growth as we build up in our soul the virtues of Christ's love, but we should ever hold before us the exhortation of Paul found at Romans 12:17-21 (NASB),
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.
"BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM,
Do not be overcome by evil,
Jesus is further described by Peter as -
WHILE SUFFERING, HE UTTERED NO THREATS: Jesus knew that God's plan was perfect and that nothing could frustrate it, except perhaps His own failure to, "become obedient, even to the point of death on the cross," (Philip. 2:8).
Accordingly, He was never intimidated by the ridicule and threats of the men who crucified Him. He never gave in to the temptation to retort back at them, "just wait till I get down from here!" Not even did He use the reality of their future judgment as a threat by saying, "You will sing a different song when you're swimming in fire!" But quite the opposite! Not only did He forgive them for their personal attacks against Him, but "He gave Himself as a ransom for all," (1 Tim. 2:6), paying sin's penalty even for those who deny Him (2 Pet. 2:1).
Finally, all of this is neatly summarized by Peter with the statement -
BUT KEPT ENTRUSTING HIMSELF: The word, "entrust," is from paradidomi and means to give to the side of someone. The idea here is that you "turn yourself over" to the authority and character of someone else. This is a perfect picture of total trust and dependence on God in the face of every situation in life. This word communicates the functional reality of the Faith-Rest life, which we have previously studied. And in Jesus, we once again have the perfect example.
With absolute confidence in the plan and character of God, Jesus was able to face the physical pain of the cross and the terror of spiritual death, as He would bear the sins of the world, with no fears, no doubts and no hesitation. As He faced the mental pressure, contemplating what was before Him, He was able to totally trust in The Father. Without "blinking an eye," as it were, He prayed,
"My Father, if it is possible,
Notice that the object of this trust is -
THE ONE WHO JUDGES RIGHTEOUSLY: Jesus knew that The Father would always be perfectly just and ever "bring about justice for His elect" (Luke 18:7). Accordingly, "for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame," (Heb. 12:2) and once more gives us the example we need for endurance - -
"for consider Him
The Copybook lays open before us all, freely and clearly displayed, so that not only are we exhorted to imitate it, but indeed, CAN actually produce the very image of Christ in our own lives.
"But we all, with unveiled face
"But PUT ON the Lord Jesus Christ,
"Now be growing in the grace and knowledge
©Ron Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com.
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