Suffering With Christ (1 Peter 2:21-25)

Suffering With Christ (1 Peter 2:21-25)


  • Last week, Ray did an excellent job reviewing this section (2:13-3:7).
  • The blessings we receive, through union with Christ and other believers, impact us at the most basic levels.
  • However, pagan household codes did not provide instructions regarding suffering.

Read 1 Peter 2:21-25

  • The Holy Spirit, speaking through Peter, had something important to communicate to the Church Universal.
  • This passage answers the question: How did Christ suffer? And to what end did he suffer?
  • The way we suffer as Christians is modeled after the example of Christ’s suffering. If we want to please our Heavenly Father in our suffering we need to understand and imitate the way Christ suffered for us.
  • Those who are united to Christ are called to endure suffering like Christ.
    1. Who Did Christ Suffer For? (21)
    2. What Did Christ’s Suffering Exclude? (22-23a)
    3. What Did Christ’s Suffering Include? (23b-25)

Who Did Christ Suffer For? (21)

  • Those called to endure unjust suffering. Immediately regarding servants, but applicable to all Christians (3:8-9).
  • God calls his children to endure unjust suffering because Jesus Christ suffered likewise for them.
  • “Example” better translated “paradigm”.

Calvin It is necessary to know what in Christ is to be our example. He walked on the sea, he cleansed the leprous, he raised the dead, he restored sight to the blind: to try to imitate him in these things would be absurd.”

  • Differences between our’s and Christ’s suffering:
  • Purpose: Christ’s suffering brought forgiveness. Our suffering gives witness to both the reality and the impact of that forgiveness in our lives.
  • Christ alone is sinless and therefore his death could be substitutionary (unlike our suffering).
  • Our suffering has no atoning effect. Our suffering doesn’t complete the work that Christ began. Rather, our suffering is a witness to the suffering of Christ which brought forgiveness.
  • Peter’s point is that we learn how to suffer by noticing how Jesus endured suffering.
  • The value of Christ’s suffering on your behalf can be measured by your willingness to endure suffering that points to his suffering.
  • The question we must answer is: What did Christ’s suffering look like? Does our suffering point to his suffering? Are we following in his steps?

Jesus Christ provides us with an example to follow.

What Did Christ’s Suffering Exclude? (22-23a)

  • Sin: Christ didn’t suffer because of sin, nor did he sin in response to suffering.
  • Deceit: He didn’t attempt to mislead others in order to minimize his suffering.
  • Revile: When they slandered him, he did not retaliate.
  • Threat: As the pain increased, he didn’t shout threats that he would get his revenge.
  • Only Peter explicitly notes the Christological significance of Isaiah 53:4-12. Rearranged order to follow passion events.
  • Have I ever really experienced suffering?
  • I don’t use personal examples when I think of real suffering. I think of others who have gone through things I can’t imagine.
  • This passage caused me to ask some hard questions:
    • Is suffering foreign because I do everything I can to avoid it?
    • Do I coast through life because I rarely take risks that might lead to failure or pain?
    • Am I avoiding something I’m called to?
  • I’m not going to create experiences just for the sake of suffering. But I wonder how much suffering I’ve avoided by making excuses.
  • We don’t suffer well. We question God. We deceive others in order to minimize trying circumstances. We blame others for our failures. We are filled with a self-righteous attitude towards anyone who disagrees with us.
  • In other words, we tend to do all the things Christ did not do when he suffered.

We’ve seen what Christ’s suffering excluded, how let’s see…

What Did Christ’s Suffering Include? (23b-25)

  • Entrusting himself to a Just Judge. > Imp: a future vindication. We don’t retaliate because we trust justice will be carried out by God.
  • Bearing our sin > Imp: we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Christ suffered the guilt and punishment of our sins.
  • Christ’s suffering is more than an example, it has the power to save. Christ’s death provides forgiveness and empowerment for discipleship.
  • v.24 His wounds healed our rebellion > Illus: like lost sheep, returned to our Shepherd.

Clowney Peter had heard Jesus quote (Zech 13:7) as he led the disciples from the last supper to the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus used it to warn the disciples of their scattering, their falling away, when he, the Shepherd, would be struck down. Peter had replied, ‘Even if all fall away, I will not.’ Yet Peter, too, had forsaken Jesus and fled. When he later followed from a distance, he had been prepared to swear that he never knew Jesus. What joy filled Peter’s heart to receive forgiveness and blessing from his risen Lord! Peter had returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of his soul.

  • We need to hear that we have been “called” to endure unjust suffering, if that is what we are experiencing.
  • We need to be reminded that Jesus already bore our sins so that we might die to them and live to righteousness, a righteousness we have already received from Christ.
  • We need to remember who we are in Christ – especially in the midst of suffering.

We have been called and enabled to suffer well.


Schreiner Suffering…is not a detour by which believers receive the inheritance to which they were called. It is God’s appointed means for receiving the inheritance.

  • Let’s not domesticate or tone down the suffering Peter has in view. Christ’s suffering culminated in a public execution that was reserved for slaves and foreigners – Peter’s readers precisely! This is no easy instruction.
  • Do you remember how hard it was for Peter to hear Jesus speak of his suffering (Matt. 16:21-23)? Do you think that became Peter’s paradigm?
  • Those who are united to Christ are called to endure suffering like Christ.