Today we’re continuing to concentrate on the fact of Christ’s suffering. As mentioned in my previous introduction to the larger section, 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:
Jesus did not retaliate
We see that in verse 23a because it says that “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return” and that “when he suffered, he did not threaten”. Now, the verbs in those expressions “he did not revile in return” and “he did not threaten” are in the imperfect tense. That means that they are expressing an action that was ongoing.
So, non-retaliation characterised the whole of Jesus’ life. Peter was speaking from first-hand experience here. In Matthew 26 we have the account of Jesus being betrayed and arrested and we read in verses 47 to 53:
“While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?”
They came with their swords and clubs and laid their hands on Him and seized Him. When one of His followers drew his sword in retaliation Jesus commanded him to put the sword away. Who was it that had wielded that sword? Well, look at the account in John chapter 18 of Jesus being arrested. We read in verses 10 to 11: “Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?””.
The one who had wielded the sword and been reprimanded for it was none other than Peter the writer of this letter. What a lesson that was for him and what a lasting impression it had made!
Now, Peter’s words here are not a direct quotation from Isaiah 53 but they certainly pick up on the sense of Isaiah 53v7 where we read: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth”. Clearly, Peter viewed Jesus as being the suffering servant who was foretold in Isaiah 53. Jesus was the fulfilment of that prophecy.
It’s also worth noting that Jesus followed His own teaching. In Matthew 5v38-40 we read that Jesus said:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well”.
You sometimes hear parents say something like “do as I say not as I do”. That was never the case with Jesus.
What Jesus said was exactly what Jesus did. As we saw previously, Jesus committed no sin. He was perfect so all that He said was true and all that He did was right. There was never any discrepancy between His words and His actions. He said “turn the other cheek” and that’s exactly what He did even under the most difficult and distressing circumstances. In doing so, He was leaving us an example to follow.
That flies in the face of a lot of modern psychology doesn’t it?
Many would say that there is therapeutic value in expressing your anger when you suffer and when you’re wronged. Venting your anger is encouraged as a good and helpful thing. But, that was not what Jesus did and it’s not what He encouraged His followers to do. Does that then mean that we’re to supress it, hold it in and bottle it up? Are we to be stoical and maintain a typical British stiff upper lip? Was that what Jesus was doing in not retaliating? I don’t think so.
Next post we will continue with the thought “Jesus trusted.”