Spiritual Success or Distress?
Quarter 1, Lesson 10

Lesson Ten

Jesus, The Servant: Our Model

Text: 1 Peter 2:18-25

Jesus made this truth quite clear: any person who belonged to him would develop the heart and attitude of a servant. The emphasis that Jesus placed on our being servants is amazing. Those who follow him and thereby receive God's blessings will be:

Servants who forgive fellow servants (Matthew 18:21-35).
Servants who serve fellow servants (Matthew 20:20-28).
Watchful, prepared servants (Mark 13:33-37).
Wise, dependable servants (Matthew 24:45-51).
Faithful, industrious servants; not wicked, lazy servants (Matthew 25:14-30).
Servants who understand that it is impossible to do more than they should do (Luke 17:5-10).

Each Christian must see, understand, and accept this truth: (a) Jesus, as leader and teacher, said, "Follow my example." (b) Jesus, as authoritarian and Lord, did not say, "Do what I order you to do. I am in charge. Just do what I say."

Jesus, our Lord, authority, and teacher, emphasized that we must follow his example. We follow him by denying self and carrying a cross (Matthew 16:24-26). He denied self and carried a cross. In his age a cross symbolized incredible disgrace and shame. As did Jesus, we will endure disgrace and shame for God's purposes. He declared that a servant is not more important than his master (Matthew 10:24-25). Jesus consciously taught the twelve to follow his example. (See John 13:12-20.)

Before he received all authority as Lord [which occurred at his resurrection], Jesus was the humble servant. Jesus Christ the Lord who has all authority expects us to follow his example as the lowly servant. He expects us (a) to love each other as he loves us (John 15:9-12; 1 John 3:14) and (b) to allow his life in his ministry to be our example.

Read 1 Peter 2:18-25.

Context: note that 2:18-25 is just one part of a major emphasis in Peter's letter.

  1. In Peter's words, to whom is 2:11-17 addressed? Who is that?

  2. To whom is 3:1-6 addressed?

  3. To whom is 3:7 addressed?

  4. To whom is 3:8-12 addressed?

Note the obvious: Christ restructures our relationships. Faith is not confined to facts we accept. Faith is expressed in the relationships that we rebuild and nurture.

In the text of 1 Peter 2:18-25:

  1. Specifically, Peter addressed whom (verse 18)? What were these Christians?

  2. What was their Christian responsibility in this relationship (verse 18)?

  3. Discuss why God looked with favor on Christian servants who showed respect to the unjust people who control their lives (verses 19,20).

  4. Christ showed them how to do what [even to the point of providing footprints] (verse 21)?

  5. List specific footprints of Jesus that show the Christian how to suffer (verses 22-24).

  6. Because Jesus endured the suffering of injustice, what two things did he make possible for us (verse 24)?

  7. How were we healed (verse 24)? If we endure the suffering of injustice by following Jesus' example, do you think God can use our suffering to bring healing to others?

If we have faith in God, we must see, understand, and accept these basic concepts.

Concept one: a powerless Christian who suffers injustice responds by showing respect because that is what God honors in a believer's behavior.

Concept two: it is appropriate and right for a Christian to suffer injustice respectfully because Christ is our example. Jesus showed respect as he suffered injustice.

Concept three: as a Christian endures injustice, he or she cannot possess enough strength to behave as a godly person and to be concerned about justice. Jesus suffered injustice respectfully because he focused 100% of his concentration on the behavior God wanted. He had neither energy nor place for vengeance, anger, threats, or hostility. He was quiet. He asked God to forgive his enemies. He showed mercy.

Concept four: When Christians suffer because of injustice, it requires 100% of their energy and concentration to continue Christian behavior. Jesus entrusted all matters involving judging (responding to injustice) to the God who judges righteously. Jesus trusted the totally informed God who knows minds and hearts to address all injustice. Jesus concentrated on behaving as God wanted him to behave.

Jesus never instructs us to do what he did not first do. He instructs us to live our lives in transformed behavior [Romans 12:1,2] for three primary reasons. First, this behavior has its origin in God. Second, this behavior produces meaningful existence on earth and eternal existence with God. Third, this behavior follows Jesus' example.

Only the man or woman who accepts the Lordship of Jesus Christ will accept the challenges and responsibilities of this behavior. We do it because he is the example.

Link to Teacher's Guide Quarter 1, Lesson 10

Copyright © 1999, 2000
David Chadwell & West-Ark Church of Christ

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