Christmas for the Soul

untitledIt’s almost Christmas. Some of you have a decorated home already. As you stay true to our Savior during this season, it’s important to remember, Jesus has shown us how to respond to the hard things.

This morning, my scripture writing was out of I Peter 2:21-25.

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.” When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted himself to Him who judges justly. “He himself bore our sins” in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by His wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

This passage is inspiring. In the verses before it, the subject matter is about submission to authorities and suffering for doing good. Verse 21 starts, “To this, you were called.” We were called to submit to authorities, and to know as followers of Jesus, we will suffer for doing good. When we do suffer, we are to endure it. The only thing I’d add to this is to be sure your suffering is not something you caused. Jesus is not talking about self inflicted suffering, things which could have been prevented.

The passage also says Christ suffered for you and left all believers an example in Himself and to follow in His steps. Based on verses 22 and 23, Jesus shows an example for us when He appeared before His accusers.

Jesus endured insults.

Jesus did not retaliate.

Jesus did not make any threats.

For us to respond as Jesus did requires us to walk in the Spirit. Responses like His are not natural. Typically, whenever we feel insulted, the opposite usually comes forth. Even if we manage to keep guard over our mouth, the darkness is in our heart. The challenge from scripture does not take into account our sin nature. The scripture gives us Jesus as our example, and Jesus is telling us we can respond like Him. The example is given and is the one to follow. We will face suffering for doing perfectly good things in Jesus’ Name, and we are to suffer well. We have His power inside us to respond well. Leaving the results to Him is a matter of trust. Jesus trusted His entire life to His Father.

He went to die on the cruel cross so that “we might die to sins and live for righteousness.” A wonderful thought follows, stating we are healed by His wounds. Jesus suffered on our behalf, in our place. And because HE did, we are healed. When we accept forgiveness from Jesus, we move from the disease of sin to being made well and whole. We identify with Christ. The cure has come.

In conclusion, verse 25 of this powerful passage says we have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls! Have you returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your soul? The final hope of turning back to Him is acknowledged in the two protective, loving names, Shepherd and Overseer.

This Christmas season, let’s find hope in this passage from scripture. It tells the entire reason Jesus came and then ended almost like a benediction to comfort us as we return to Him, and endure until He comes again.

But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:5-6

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Dear Overseer and Shepherd of our souls, help us to suffer well. Let us bring glory to you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


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