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CALLED TO SUFFER

Daily Devotional 1 Peter 2:21–25


Suffering comes in many packages. And while we are aware of its existence, pain still catches us by surprise. We ask “Why?” and wish it away. As Oswald Chambers wrote: “No healthy Christian chooses suffering; he chooses God’s will, as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not.”


To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow his steps.

1 PETER 2:21


Today’s passage is part of an extended section in which Peter offers guidelines for particular relationships. In 1 Peter 2:13–17, he addressed how Christians should consider government, and he introduced the overarching biblical principle of submission (putting oneself under the authority of another). The primary motivation for submission was the Lord.


Then Peter addressed servants, those people responsible for the most lowly service in society. He instructed servants to “submit [themselves] to [their] masters” (v. 18). This charge was not only applicable when masters were kind, however. Submission was also the expectation when masters were harsh, since such unjust suffering, done with “reverent fear,” was “commendable before God” (v. 20).


Within this context, Peter added to our understanding of the believer’s call. “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (v. 21). Servants—and all followers of Jesus (4:12–19)—would suffer because in this way they would partake in the work of Christ.


Jesus modeled suffering for us, both physically and spiritually. He sinlessly and humbly endured insults and physical pain. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross” (v. 24). He is our example, redeemer, and healer. Jesus trusted His own care to the Father, and the churches in Asia Minor—as helpless sheep—could rely on “the Shepherd and Overseer of [their] souls” (v. 25).


>> We may be uncomfortable with the idea of suffering being a part of our calling. But we are reminded that Jesus showed us how to endure suffering, and He is our Good Shepherd through it all.


Pray with Us


In our suffering, teach us to cry out to You. Be with us, attentive and gracious. Acquaint us with Your compassion and peace. Bolster our faith against doubt and bitterness. In our pain, we are reminded to depend on You.

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