Read slowly and take these verses in:

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you and example, so that you might follow in His steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. 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.          1 Peter 2:21-23 ESV

It could be said that the greatest fear of a Christian student today is the fear of being ridiculed. Perhaps in our bravado we imagine physical suffering (getting jumped, beat up) and think we could nobly undergo such treatment. However, I think deep down in a student’s heart, we are afraid of being alone while our whole class or group of friends mock us.

Truth is, everyone wants, to some degree, to fit in and be approved by others. This desire for approval is not sinful at the core, but must be overcome when it stands between you and following Jesus. Thankfully, the Scripture above is dear and pivotal for overcoming such fear and gaining a godly perspective on such things.

The first key point is to know that Christ suffered these things first – being mocked, in this case. Really, our Lord’s sufferings should be on our mind day and night. (Being Easter, this should be the case even more so.) “Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking Him as they beat him. They also blindfolded Him and kept asking Him, “Prophecy! Who is it that struck You?” And they said many other things against Him, blaspheming Him.” Luke 22:63-65 Jesus is not some figure engraved on a stained-glass window, but “has suffered when tempted… is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:18

Secondly, we are called to follow Jesus in His walk of suffering. This is not to be seen as an arduous task – no, the apostles saw sharing in the Lord’s sufferings as the highest honor possible. In the second verse of James, the apostle writes: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” Paul’s writings are filled with his words expressing what a joy and privilege it was for him to suffer as Jesus.

Lastly, we can entrust ourselves to “Him who judges justly.” When the time comes for our faith to be tested, we never need retaliate to any man, even as Jesus “did not revile in return.” Confidence is ours that every man will give an account to God on the day of judgement. In Scripture, we see that the punishment for those who oppress God’s chosen is so severe that we should indeed pray for those who persecute us. To reiterate, let’s entrust ourselves to a most faithful God.

The reality of suffering for Christ may be lost in the western Church. But I suppose the other ditch is to be afraid that by never having truly suffered for the Gospel, we are not really saved. We must know it was Christ’s suffering that gave us salvation, and no suffering of our own could ever suffice. What God wants from us is an attitude that makes us ready to suffer under any circumstance. And until then, let us thank God for the undeserved mercies of comfort and security He has showered us with while other believers have gone without.

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