“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” (1 Peter 3:18, AV)
Nearly every adolescent has an aspiration to be an adult. In moving in this direction, they look for role models. As a young man I looked for one. What I did was make a composite of what I thought a real man was. I took some parts of my dad. He was an engineer. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War ii. He was a hard worker and basically educated himself in steam turbine design where he advanced to become the chief of design at the company for which he worked. I watched his actions and sought to be like him. He had a lot of good traits, but also some others. He liked to drink a lot of alcohol, use vulgar language and tell crude jokes. In high-school, I added James Bond to the mix. After all he had all the girls and lived a thrilling life of danger. In college, it was General George Patton, a great military leader. Yet something in all of these figures was missing.
In 1983, I discovered what was missing and the best role model that anyone could have. Most of what I understood to represent real manhood was anything but that. No, in 1983, the Lord Jesus saved me and I went on a quest to know Him more and more. The more I learned about Jesus, the more I understood that Jesus was the only person who modeled true manhood.
In the previous verses, Peter told his readers that if they endured suffering for being righteous and demonstrated hope in the midst of it, that they would experience a blessing of God. In this verse, he presented the infinitely perfect example in Jesus Christ. Jesus suffered for our sins. His suffering was greater than anyone has ever or will ever experience. He definitely suffered on the cross physically, but His suffering went far beyond the physical. Jesus bore all of the guilt and sorrows of fallen humanity on the cross (Isa 53:3-4). We feel terrible under the guilt of committing just one sin, while Jesus bore the guilt of the sins of all humanity. Jesus felt forsaken of the Father as He hung on the cross (Matt 27:46).
Why did He endure such suffering? It was to bring us to God. Because He suffered, God blessed Him. The Scripture states that for the joy set before him, He endured the cross (Heb 12:2). Moreover, because He was perfectly righteous, having no sin, the grave could not hold Him. On the third day He rose from the grave, defeating sin and death.
Because of the suffering of Christ, we have been blessed. He took our sin and clothed us with His righteousness. He put an end to the sacrificial system, being the spotless Lamb of God who sacrificed Himself for our sins once and for all.
Jesus is our perfect example of one who suffered for good and received the blessing of God. He is the role model we need for authentic manhood and womanhood.