We are called to follow the example that Jesus set for us. I remember the classic book by Charles Sheldon called, “In His Steps” which describes how the Reverend Henry Maxwell and his congregation were forced to consider the question, “What would Jesus do?” and its consequences. No one in town was left untouched by this brief and probing question. These people learn the answer is to walk in In His Steps.
- Growing up, who was the authority figure in your family?
- How was disobedience handled?
- In this section, we will see that the saints have various duties toward the government, their work and suffering.
- What does Peter say in 1 Peter 2:11-12 that helps to set the stage for this passage?
- Think of a fellow believer whom you greatly admire. In what ways would you like to model your life after that person’s example?
- Why didn’t Jesus feel any need to seek revenge? You may want to read an additional passage about Christ’s willingness to suffer (Isaiah 53:1-12).
- Why is it important for us to lead good lives?
- Why should we yield to authorities?
- What happens when believers endure suffering for doing good? Additional passages to explore include Matthew 5:11-12, Romans 5:1-5, James 5:10-11.
- What can we learn from Jesus about responding to unfair treatment? You may want to review some times when Jesus was unfairly treated in life as well as death – He healed a man, but was criticized because it was on the Sabbath (John 5:7–18); several times the Pharisees set out to trick him (Matthew 22:15–21; John 8:2–8).
- How do we tend to react when others hurt us?
- In what way does Christ’s example affect the way you view your problems and pain?
- How can our emotional wounds interfere with our spiritual growth? How do emotional wounds affect our ability to trust? to love? to obey? to hope?
- In what circumstances is it tempting to retaliate?
- When has God helped you forgive someone who hurt you deeply?
- How can you fight the urge to get back at people who mistreat you?
For more Bible passages on following Jesus’ example, see John 8:12; 12:26; 13:15; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 5:1–2; 1 Thessalonians 1:6.
Here is an uplifting thought from Max Lucado:
The disciples are annoyed. As Jesus sits in silence, they grow more smug. “Send her away,” they demand. The spotlight is put on Jesus. He looks at the disciples, then looks at the woman. And what follows is one of the most intriguing dialogues in the New Testament.
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel,” he says.
“Lord, help me!”
“It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs,” he answers.
“But even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ tables,” she responds.
Is Jesus being rude? Is he worn-out? Is he frustrated? Is he calling this woman a dog? How do we explain this dialogue?…
Could it be that Jesus’ tongue is poking his cheek? Could it be that he and the woman are engaging in satirical banter? Is it wry exchange in which God’s unlimited grace is being highlighted? Could Jesus be so delighted to have found one who is not bartering with a religious system or proud of a heritage that he can’t resist a bit of satire?
He knows he can heal her daughter. He knows he isn’t bound by a plan. He knows her heart is good. So he decides to engage in a humorous moment with a faithful woman. In essence, here’s what they said:
“Now, you know that God only cares about Jews,” he says smiling.
And when she catches on, she volleys back, “But your bread is so precious, I’ll be happy to eat the crumbs.”
In a spirit of exuberance, he bursts out, “Never have I seen such faith! Your daughter is healed.”
This story does not portray a contemptuous God. It portrays a willing One who delights in a sincere seeker.
Aren’t you glad he does?
(From In the Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado)
Bible Study Questions:
- Find several examples of submission in this passage. What is difficult about each?
- How are Christians to act toward governmental authority? Why are they to treat governing leaders with respect (1 Peter 2:13-15)?
- When the word “submit” is used in the New Testament, it is voluntary in nature. How is this different from other interpretations of the word today?
- How could the teachings of 1 Peter 2:16-17 keep you from being a “muddy doormat” to the government?
- What connection does the text point out between Christ’s suffering and a Christian’s submission in the situation of slavery (1 Peter 2:18-21)?
- What is Peter’s response to one whose master is not a Christian or is just a difficult person (1 Peter 2:18)?
- What are the effects of Christ’s suffering (1 Peter 2:22-25)?
- Jesus “entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). How might a similar trust in God help you to submit to the necessary suffering that has come into your life?
- Slowly read the words of 1 Peter 2:24, substituting your name for the appropriate pronouns. In what specific ways have you seen Christ’s work here played out in your own experience?
- How does Christ’s death result in both an ending and a beginning in our lives (1 Peter 2:24)?
- In Peter’s day, persecution and slavery made submission to authority difficult. What conditions today make it difficult?
- How can Jesus’ example help you face hardships you can’t change?
- What should people do whose rights are being violated by authority gone bad (accept, suffer, insist on justice, sue, confront the authority)? (see also Mark 11:15-16, 15:1-15, Acts 16:35-37).