Suffering Like Jesus
Day 4 – Suffering Like Jesus
Read 1 Peter 2:19-25; Isaiah 53:1-7, 9; Matthew 5:38-48; Exodus 14:13-14
Scripture says that when Jesus suffered, He did not threaten. He did not retaliate. In fact, Isaiah 53:7 says that He did not even open His mouth. Too often our immediate response to reviling is retaliation. In fact, it’s pretty unnatural not to isn’t it? Our culture tells us to threaten those who cause us harm–to seek revenge and vindication. Hollywood always has us cheering for the underdog who has been violated as they take revenge on their enemy. It’s ingrained in who we are.
But it’s interesting to study the response of Jesus as He was being reviled. As He was bearing our sin and shame, He never opened his mouth in opposition. He could have called down fire and brimstone to devour the entire Roman cohort responsible for his execution. But He did no such thing. He said not a word. This is consistent with what He taught His disciples throughout His ministry. He taught them to love their enemies–to let go of the ancient philosophy of “an eye for an eye.” But it rubbed against everything their culture had taught them. And it rubs against our own cultural norms as well. Not much has changed in several thousand years.
As He bore our sin on His own body, He was silent toward the opposition. In Exodus 14:13-14 God reminds His people through Moses of this important truth as they stood on the shores of the unsurpassable Red Sea with the Egyptian army closing in behind. He says, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today … The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
Whatever opposition you are facing or will face, resolve to keep silent. May we stop trying to take matters in our own hands. May we stop trying to defend ourselves. The Lord will fight for us. Let us resolve to wait patiently and quietly on the Lord.
“I am sadly harassed by doubts, fears, unbelief, in a felt spiritual darkness.
My heart is full of evil surmisings and disquietude, and I cannot act faith at all.
My heavenly Pilot has disappeared, and I have lost my hold on the Rock of Ages;
I sink in deep mire beneath storms and waves, in horror and distress unutterable.
Help me, O Lord, to throw myself absolutely and wholly on thee, for better, for worse, without comfort, and all but hopeless.
Give me peace of soul, confidence, enlargement of mind, morning joy that comes after night heaviness” (The Valley of Vision, Puritan Prayers, “Peril”).
● Think of a time when you tried to defend or vindicate yourself under circumstances when you should have remained silent. How did that go? How did you feel?
● Is it difficult to understand this kind of meekness (not to be confused with “weakness”) of action when our culture has indoctrinated us with the need to defend ourselves? Does it rub you the wrong way?
● Is there an attitude of self-vindication that you need to repent of?
● Spend some time thanking Jesus for the suffering and shame He endured for you.