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Christ... Suffered for You, Leaving You an Example, ...You Might Follow in His Steps

29 March • Good Friday

1 Peter 2:11-24

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

13 Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 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.



In the culture in which we live, many Christians agree with and even live by two fundamental principles, consciously or unconsciously.

The first principle is that good deeds should bring us rewards and blessings, and conversely, punishment and suffering is what doers of bad deeds deserve.

The second principle is that the well-being of the body— having enough to wear and eat—is what we should seek after.

Undoubtedly these two principles seem to have a lot of wisdom, and we may even know Bible verses that support them.

For example, the first principle seems to be supported by Romans 6:23 (“The wages of sin is death...”) and Galatians 6:7 (“A man reaps what he sows”) where good and bad actions will lead to corresponding consequences.

Similarly, the second principle of the importance of material well-being seems to be supported by Jesus’ parables about food, clothing, kingly banquets and wedding feasts, not to mention the feeding of the 4,000 and 5,000, and the healing of countless sick.

The concern with these two pieces of wisdom is not that they are false, but that they are only partially true. Yes, they are part of God’s general revelation of principles that relate to our present earthly survival. But how adequate are they as principles of life for disciples of Jesus Christ, who are “in the world” but “not of the world” (John 17:11, 14, 16)? They are instead “sojourners and exiles” awaiting “the day of his visitation” to judge the world and bring us into the new heaven and new earth (2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1).

Blessings for doing good and suffering for doing bad proves inadequate as a life principle because Christ suffered a horrific death even though he did nothing but good. It is inadequate because it fails to recognise the full extent of evil. Jesus warned us that we as His disciples cannot expect to be spared (John 15:18-19).

The worldly principle also proves inadequate because it fails to recognise the power of grace. An undeserving thief on the cross may be in paradise despite his evil deeds, simply because He trusted Christ. This is our gospel calling, not only to receive grace and forgiveness, but to pass it on to others.

We have been healed “by his wounds” from an addiction to temporal material well-being, set free to experience a more resilient life rooted in the spiritual and eternal. Sometimes we may be blessed both materially and spiritually for which we must be grateful. But often, we will only savour the spiritual more deeply by renouncing the velvety shackles of the material.

So our calling is no longer to do good for material rewards but for God’s eternal glory. We conduct ourselves honourably before all men even when it may seem foolish and disadvantageous. We even suffer under unjust earthly authority, waiting upon God who judges justly and from whom we will receive our eternal reward.

Let us keep our eyes on Jesus, who is not only our Saviour and our Forerunner in fulfilling God’s calling (Hebrews 12:1-2), but also the Presence who promised to be with us “always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).



Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for not only saving me, but also calling me to a purpose greater than my own comfort. Transform my thinking to be like Yours. Turn my heart towards those in need. Transfer my longings away from this fleeting earthly life to the glory of life with You, now and always. Amen.



Next time you do something good that may or may not be noticed, or suffer loss, grief or injustice for doing the right thing, find a quiet place to be alone with God. Take a deep breath and say, “Thank You Lord for the privilege of being Yours.” Then return with a smile to whatever you were doing, knowing that you are fulfilling God’s calling, and nothing is in vain.

Venerable Wong Tak Meng

Archdeacon for Community Services

Diocese of Singapore

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