Picking up where we left off we will once again continue to concentrate on the fact of Christ’s suffering by looking at v22-24a under the title “The suffering saviour.”
As mentioned in my introduction, I mentioned there are five things from verses 22-24a for us to notice about what Peter had to say about Jesus “The suffering Savior.”
He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:22-24 ESV)
The next thing to note about our suffering Savior is that although He was subject to awful suffering that:
You see, having said at the beginning of verse 23 that Jesus: “did not revile in return” and that He “did not threaten” we find that Peter continues the verse by saying: “but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly”. The word “but” there suggests an alternative to reviling in return and threatening. What was that alternative? What did He do instead of reviling or threatening? It was “entrusting himself to him who judges justly”. So, it wasn’t a matter of Him being stoical, it was a matter of trust.
The Greek word that has been translated as “entrusting” is paradidomi and it means “handing over to” or “delivering to” or “committing to”. Giving vent to your anger on the one hand or being stoical on the other are both human ways of trying to deal with unjust suffering for yourself but the idea here is of handing it over for someone else to deal with. That’s why He didn’t need to retaliate: He trusted someone else to take care of the situation. He didn’t need to worry about it.
To whom did Jesus entrust Himself? Who was it that He was so sure would deal with every situation? Well, the text says that it was “to him who judges justly”. That is clearly referring to God but why did Peter choose to express it in that way? Why didn’t he simply say that Jesus “continued entrusting himself to God”?
Surely the point is that the reason for Jesus not retaliating was not simply because He trusted in God in a general but specifically because He trusted that God will one day judge and that He will judge justly. That’s why He could hand over any thoughts of retaliation and we should follow His example. Last time we referred to Colossians 3v23-25 where we read: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality”. That was in the context of slaves obeying their masters even if they’re treated harshly. How could they do so?
It’s because if they have a right understanding of the justice of God and entrust themselves to Him as “him who judges justly” they will have confidence that eventually “the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done”. We don’t need to retaliate. We’re liberated from any sense of needing to get even or striving for justice. We can confidently leave justice and punishment to God.
We’re exhorted in the same way in Romans 12v19-20 where we read: “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.””. You see, we’re never to avenge ourselves. We can hand it over to God knowing that He will repay.
Notice that the text says that Jesus: “continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly”. Once again, the verb is in the imperfect tense and the word “continued” serves to emphasise that. So, this “entrusting himself to him who judges justly” was an ongoing attitude or state of mind that characterised Him. It’s not that He started trusting when opposition and suffering came. No, when opposition and suffering came, He continued trusting. He entrusted Himself to God from the outset and didn’t stop when opposition and suffering came and increased.
We Christians can be very fickle can’t we?
Some, when all is going well, say they’re trusting God, but that trust quickly evaporates when problems arise and they descend into a blind panic and try to deal with the situation in a purely human way for themselves. At the other extreme, others are happy to jog along with no conscious trust in God when all is well but then suddenly turn to Him as soon as troubles arise. If we’re following the example that Jesus left us neither of those extremes will be true of us. Rather, like Him, we’ll always continue entrusting ourselves to Him who judges justly.
The last post for this section of 1 Peter will be: Jesus bore our sins