“21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth” (I Peter 2:21-22).
The sinlessness of the Christ is clearly presented in the Scriptures: both Old and New Testaments (Isaiah 53:9; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; I John 3:1-5). While Jesus lived on this earth as fully God and fully man, He never sinned in thought, word or deed.
In speaking to the Pharisees Jesus said, “45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”(John 8:45-47).
There was no treachery, trickery or deceit in what Jesus said to the Pharisees in John 8, or anywhere else for that matter. His sinlessness permitted Him to take our place on the cross because of our sinfulness (2 Corinthians 5:21). His sinlessness makes what He says about suffering, and its purposefulness, a truth in which we can find comfort and rest.
We often say the reason why Jesus came to earth was to die on the cross and rise again. While this is certainly true, Jesus also came to earth, born of a virgin, in order to live a perfect life in complete conformity to the written revelation of God. In doing so, He was worthy to be an acceptable sacrifice to God the Father on behalf of the sinner. Since Jesus suffered for, I therefore should suffer for Him: not in order to become acceptable to Him, but rather to be identified with Him as my Savior and Lord.
One theologian puts it this way. “Peter powerfully supported his exhortation to slaves by citing Christ’s example of endurance in unjust suffering. Christians are called (eklēthēte; cf. 1:15; 2:9) to follow Christ, to emulate His character and conduct, because He suffered for them. The word rendered an example (hypogrammon, lit., “underwriting”), appearing only here in the New Testament, refers to a writing or drawing that a student reproduces.
We are called to reproduce the character of Christ while living here on this earth. This is especially true when copying Jesus’ response to suffering.
Soli deo Gloria!