21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21
To be called to follow in someone’s steps requires great faith in the person you have chosen to follow. it may mean leaving behind life as you know it, even changing your lifestyle and your beliefs. As His disciples, Christ leads, we follow. He goes before us like a shepherd before His sheep. When someone chose to follow a rabbi, they literally gave their entire life to that calling. They lived 24/7 with that rabbi, learning His every word and action, mimicking his lifestyle. Essentially trying to become just like them in every aspect.
Step number 1 in our calling as disciples is to be followers of Jesus, who is our teacher and Lord. His desire is that we surrender our wills and follow Him. This is a lifelong committment, striving to become just like the teacher. If we look at the whole context of the verse we read
Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
Peter is giving some very radical teaching here. I’ve often heard the complaint by non-believers, which used to be me, that the bible endorses slavery, because it doesn’t outright say anywhere that slavery is wrong. And if we know anything about human nature, we know that people don’t just do whatever you say. Rather, Jesus, then the apostles, began to teach in a way to slowly change cultural thinking. Slavery was a normal practice. Most people saw nothing wrong with it, it was just the way it was. In these verses, we see Peter exhort those in slavery to first, fear God (put your whole trust in Him), and submit to their masters, even if the masters were tyrants and treated them badly. His point was this is part of following Jesus, part of becoming like the teacher. Jesus gave them the ultimate example as He willingly was placed in chains, beaten and nailed to the cross. And He even blessed His oppressors as He hung there. This is our calling, in order to follow Christ, we must love others just as He did; even the tough ones. And in addition, throughout the New Testament, we see where the Apostles exhorted the masters of the slaves to treat them well, with respect and as brothers in Christ. This was extremely counter-cultural, but Christ new that everyone needs to decide, not be told, to follow.
To follow, one must give the reins of leadership to another; one must be willing to humble oneself and hand over one’s own desires and pride to Crist. We must trust that Christ know what is completely best for every area of our lives. Jesus gives us a new life and He is the bridge to that new way of living. It takes a step of faith but one that first step is taken the road ahead begins to take on an all-new meaning and purpose.
The very idea and concept of discipleship means that you are willing to come under the teaching and direction of a leader, teacher or mentor. We need to “follow” them. Paul encouraged this concept when he asked the churches “to follow him as he followed Christ”
The journey begins first by answering the call of Christ and then committing oneself to following where ever He leads.
Tomorrow we will look at some examples from stories in the bible of following God.
Lord, we thank you for your calling. Teach us to follow and become more like our teacher and Lord, Jesus. Amen.