Bible Class Notes on 1 Peter 2:21-24 | Notes on the Petrine Epistles
Peter now wants to show the expectations he has placed on slaves are not unreasonable; Jesus himself lived up to these expectations.
Christians have been called to suffer, v 21. “Calling” refers to their conversion from paganism. First Peter mentions several reasons several reasons Christians have been called. Christians have been called:
- To a holy life (1:15).
- Into God’s marvelous light (2:9).
- To God’s eternal glory (5:10).
Since Jesus suffered, those who are Christians will suffer, too. “Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12).
Christ suffered for us, v 21. This is the only place in the New Testament where Jesus is depicted as “suffering for” us rather than “dying for us.” Yet, Jesus did speak of himself as suffering (Mk 8:31; 9:12); remember that crucifixion meant suffering. It could very well be that Peter takes these sayings of Jesus found in Mark and incorporates them here—Remember that tradition holds Peter as the source of Mark’s Gospel.
The Scriptures depict Jesus as dying for us. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed” (Is 53:5). “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3).
In suffering, Jesus left us an example that we should follow in his steps. Since we have been called by Christ and to Christ, we need to live as he lived. We need to patter our lives after his life. The idea of following Jesus’s example occurs throughout the New Testament. “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Eph 5:1). “You became imitators of us and of the Lord” (1 Thess 1:6). “He who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 Jn 2:6).
Jesus left us an example. “Example” literally refers to the pattern letters by which school children learn to write. The children need to follow these letters carefully if they are to learn to write. Just as tracing those letters requires careful imitation, so does following Christ.
We are to follow in his footsteps. The Greek idiom carries the same idea as the English idiom. Jesus has made a “path” for us, and we need to follow that path carefully.
When Jesus suffered, he had done no wrong, v 22. This verse is almost a direct quote from Isaiah 53:9 in the Septuagint. “He had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.” Peter does change “violence” to “sin.” This verse formed the backbone of how the early church thought about Jesus—They thought of him as One who suffered although he had done nothing wrong.
He committed no sin. The Lord Jesus could never be condemned with sin. Jesus asked the Jews who opposed him, “Which of you convicts me of sin?” (Jn 8:46). Jesus was falsely accused at his “trial” and executed although he was an innocent man. A good question to. Ask anyone who denies that Jesus was the Son of God would be, “What sins did Jesus commit?”
No guile was found in Jesus’s mouth. When Jesus was condemned at his trial, he did not retaliate with words. Jesus spoke with wisdom and authority, not with guile.
Jesus did not retaliate during his trial. This statement serves as part of a commentary on verse 22—Peter here explains what verse 22 really means. “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 dumb so he opened not his mouth” (Is 53:7). Jesus could easily have retaliated for the wrongs committed when he was accused, but he didn’t do that.
As one reads Matthew’s account of the crucifixion, he is impressed at the many times Jesus could have retaliated but chose not to do so.
- Jesus sought no revenge against Judas (Matt 26:49-50).
- Jesus told Peter to put his sword back (Matt 26:52).
- Jesus was silent when two men came and testified against him (Matt 26:60-63).
- Jesus said he was the Son of God when Caiaphas asked him (Matt 26:63-64).
- Jesus was spat upon and struck, yet we have no record of his seeking revenge (Matt 26:67-68).
- Jesus told the governor he was the King of the Jews, but he didn’t answer any charges (Matt 27:11-14).
- Jesus was mockingly worshipped, yet we have no record of his seeking revenge (Matt 27:27-31).
- Jesus was ridiculed as he was crucified, but he did nothing in return (Matt 27:37-41).
Instead of seeking ways to get even, Jesus committed these wrongs to God. Again, as one reads through Matthew’s account, he is impressed at how Jesus turned thing over to God.
- Jesus said that he could call on God to send more than 12 legions of angels, but the scriptures needed to be fulfilled (Matt 26:53-54).
- When Jesus asked why he wasn’t arrested under different circumstances, he said that everything happened so that “the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled” (Matt 26:56).
- Jesus told Caiaphas that he would see the “Son of man seated at the right hand of Power” (Matt 26:64).
- Jesus asked God why he had been forsaken (Matt 27:46).
- According to Luke’s account, Jesus asked God to forgive those who crucified him (Lk 23:34).
- Jesus taught us to love our enemies (Matt 5:38-39; Lk 6:37-38), and here we have an example of Jesus’s fulfilling that instruction.
God judges justly. God is impartial and does not take sides. We can rest assured that when we stand before him in judgment, we will be judged fairly.
He bore our sins in his body, v 24. Here is presented the idea that Jesus’s death was vicarious. Jesus suffered for us. He took our sins on himself, and he died so that we could have forgiveness of our sins. What actually put Jesus through the torture and humiliation of the crucifixion was our own sinfulness.
Jesus took our sins on himself so that we “might die to sin and live to righteousness.” “Dying to sin” carries the idea of giving up sin as a way of life. “We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin, for he who has died is freed from sin” (Rom 6:6-7). Since we have died to sin through being baptized into Christ (Rom 6:1-4), we cannot continue to make it a habit. We must make every effort to run from sin.
We are to live to righteousness—Our lives should be characterized by righteousness and holy living.
We have been healed by the wounds of Christ. Inherent in this idea is the concept that we could not save ourselves. Regardless of how good we are or how good we try to be, we cannot save ourselves. Sin is so horrible and ugly that we need the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from sin.
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was cruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed” (Is 53:4-5).