Intro: Following along with the series of messages I am preaching through 1 Peter, as Peter writes to the dispersed and persecuted church in exile throughout Asia Minor, he encourages them by writing, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:11-12). In chapter 2 verse 13 through chapter 3 verse 8 he gives us three specific ways that we are able to have “honorable conduct”, even while living in an environment that is hostile to God and the gospel. Those three ways all involve submission to authority in different realms of our daily interactions. We are to be (1) submissive citizens, (2) submissive servants, and (3) submissive spouses.

As we look at these three focal points for submission, I’ve titled this devotional series “Our Mission is Submission – 1 Peter 2:13-3:8.”

Today we will look at Christ, our example:

(2) Submissive Servants – 1 Peter 2:18-25
The Best Example (vs. 21-23)

Peter gives us the perfect example of service, doesn’t he? Christ is the example. The word for example means “the under writing.” This refers to teachers who trace out the lines on the page for a student to write over, to follow the pattern. It is like tracing the letters to learn penmanship. Jesus is our under writing, the patter we are to trace in our daily walk.

So think about this. The best example in all of creation for learning submission is by tracing the work of the Lord, the Master, the Creator, the Lord Who is high and lifted up. Glory to God in the highest! You do not get any higher in rank than God. Jesus’ name is above every name! And He is the perfect example of humble submission.

We would expect to learn submission by finding a life-long servant whose only manner of life was living to serve others. To find the lowest of the lowly and examine their behavior. Oh, wait – how did Jesus behave? As the lowest of the lowly. This is the example He sets.

21 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”; 23 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; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

We learn here that Christ is not merely an example to follow, He is our standard. He committed no sin nor was deceit found in His mouth. Where do we usually get into trouble when we are mistreated by a boss? Usually it is the things we mumble under our breath as we turn to walk away. Replying when we are caught, “Did I say that out loud?” Well, unfortunately everything we say out loud we say out loud. Saying it out loud is not the problem though is it? We say it out loud because it came from the heart. We say things we ought not to say because we think things we ought not to think. We don’t see the opportunity for proof of grace. We want to fight for our rights and reputation. We want to be able to blame our boss’ personality or temperament or leadership ability or lack thereof. We want to blame and justify our sinful hearts and thinking instead of yielding and submitting and serving.

Jesus set the standard. As righteous and spotless and sinless He was condemned to die for sin. And He did not revile, He did not threaten. He surrendered and He suffered. He allowed Himself to be abused and falsely accused in order to be obedient to the will of God. When we are mistreated, do we believe God can and will take care of us? Do we believe vengeance belongs to God, or do we act in a manner that would suggest that vengeance is up to us?

This reminds us of Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.” And verse 9, “And they made His grave with the wicked—But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.”

As Jesus faced false witnesses before the Sanhedrin, we read about it in Matthew 26:57-65:

57 And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. 58 But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end. 59 Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death,60 but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward 61 and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’” 62 And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?”63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” 64 Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!

As they falsely accused Christ, He answered them nothing. Pilate even asked, “13 Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” 14 But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.”

Jesus didn’t talk back – when commanded under oath before God to answer truthfully He did, He did testify to Who He was. But when He was falsely accused, He did not revile back or threaten back.

If anyone has ever truly been treated in a way that they did not deserve surely it was Christ. And when we suffer unfairly and are mistreated unjustly, what better example is there to follow that the example of Christ. And when Jesus did speak, when He was suffering and said something, what did He say? “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Tomorrow we will look at Christ, our Substitute and Shepherd.