“For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.” (Romans 15:3, KJV 1900)
There was an expression when I grew up that went like this. “Your mother wears combat boots.” Oh, I can tell you that these were fighting words. It was akin to, “Your parents are low class idiots.” Sometimes the war of words would escalate. One would then reply with another slur and perhaps a physical altercation would ensue. You see these types of words towards your parents were an attack on your character. I look back at this now and chuckle, realizing how childish it was. However, then it seemed very serious.
In verse three, Paul gives us the example of Christ in dealing with the issue of the weaker brother and quotes from a Messianic Psalm of David, (Psalm 69:9). The full verse reads, “For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; And the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.” (Psalm 69:9, KJV 1900) Reproaches are things spoken about someone in an unjustified negative way. David indicated that because he had a zeal for God, those that did not properly regard God reproached him. Paul indicates that this is exactly what happened to Jesus. He was reproached because of His association with the Father. The fact that people hurled reproaches at Jesus demonstrated that they did not have a proper regard for the Father.
The point that Paul was making with this in the context of the weaker brother was that Christ endured these reproaches. He did not retaliate. Oh, He had the almighty power to do so, but He did not. He humbly took it, and this for our sake. “Christ pleased not himself.” Jesus set the perfect example of humility and care for the higher purposes of the Father. In this same way, we are to seek the higher purposes also.
Yesterday, I wrote of this regarding verses one and two. They indicate that we are not to please ourselves, but must bear the infirmities of the weak in order to build them up. Often those who feel restricted in certain disputable areas will judge or criticize those who have liberty. Rather than retaliating with criticism, we are to bear these reproaches, not pleasing ourselves. As mentioned in an earlier post, we should not judge or criticize in these areas. We must seek the higher ground of building up the other person.
In this, we have the supreme example in Christ. He bore the reproaches of others that we might have life. Let us do likewise for the sake of our brother.