I Peter 2:21-25
(NAS) For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously, and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
Opening Illustration-I choose a person in the congregation to give some money to and ask them to keep it safe for me. They can invest it, but it should stay protected. At the end of a year, I want it back. I want it back in either the same condition or better. Preferably better.
I choose another person in the congregation to give some money to and I ask them simply to do with it as they wish. What is the difference?
The first kind of entrusting, where I gave someone money and asked them to keep it safe and to return it after a year was entrusting with conditions.
The second kind of entrusting where I gave someone money and asked them to do with it as they wished was entrusting with abandon, expecting the person I gave the money to would do exactly what was good and right with it. (Thom, please go collect the money. I don’t trust either of those guys. ☺)
I started a Facebook discussion about entrusting ourselves, and received many comments. Jennifer Coleman commented on the the second type of trust saying it reminded her of adoption. When a child is given up, the biological parent has to trust that the adoptive parents will raise the child with love and respect. When we entrust ourselves to God we have to take our “hands off” and let Him “raise us.” Faith is what teaches us to believe He will do the best job of raising us to mature Christians. To what is our faith anchored when it comes to entrusting ourselves to God? Do we just entrust ourselves to God for Him to sort of borrow and use us from time to time? Or have we taken a “hands off” approach and given Him complete control?
Which kind of entrusting did Jesus do in I Peter 2:23? I like the rendering of the New American Standard Version that says Jesus kept entrusting Himself to His Father who judges righteously or does what is right. The words “kept entrusting” tell me that this was something Jesus was used to doing. It was a habit to entrust Himself to the hands of God. It was an ongoing thing.
I think of Jesus’ prayer to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew His time had come to be betrayed. He knew He was headed for crucifixion. But hear me clearly. No one took Jesus’ life. He willingly laid it down. You’re not taking something when it’s freely given. You’re merely receiving it. Jesus handed Himself over to Father God in the Garden, just as He had done time and time again. Three times in Matthew 26 Jesus repeatedly handed Himself over to Father God for the Father to do with His life whatever He willed. He prayed exactly the same things in verses 39, 42, and 44. This was a habit for Jesus. He kept entrusting Himself because that’s simply the way He lived, in the hands of God.
If you give something only to take it back, you haven’t truly given it. Jesus gave His life to the Father for the Father to use as He saw fit. He committed His way to God, believing that God’s use of it would serve a far better purpose than He could come up with on His own.
Luke 5:16 tells us that Jesus often withdrew to quiet or lonely places to pray. He was regularly submitting to God, seeking His guidance and following His plan. Surrender was a lifestyle for Jesus. Daily, He entrusted Himself to the Father’s care. As He taught the disciples how to pray in the famous passage we now call the Lord’s Prayer, He modeled that it was God’s kingdom that should come and God’s will that should be done on earth as it was in heaven. In John 5:30, Jesus says, “For I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” Jesus knew what the Father’s plan was, and He refused to deviate from it. He said in Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Period. That’s my mission, and I’m sticking to it. I may be insulted. I may be mistreated. I may be criticized and judged. I may suffer, but my life belongs to the Father and whatever He wills is what I intend.
Our passage in I Peter 2:22 says Jesus was “reviled,” but that He didn’t revile back. I’ve read that passage many times and haven’t really considered what it means that He was “reviled.” It means He was spoken about abusively. He was berated. Disparaging comments were made about Him. Jesus was as used to entrusting Himself to God as He was used to being reviled. This wasn’t the first time someone said something unkind, mean-spirited, and evil about Him. He was called a blasphemer as early as Matthew Chapter nine. After seeing Jesus do several miracles, The Pharisees said, “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.” In Matthew 13 Jesus was talked about poorly and made fun of in His hometown. Those who watched Him grow up poked fun at Him and laughed at His expense. The Scribes and Pharisees were always making innuendo and trying to cast a shadow on the character of Jesus by pointing things out like Jesus ate with sinners or that He didn’t properly wash His hands according to the proper Jewish ceremonial law. They were always accusing, always heckling, always trying to get under His skin.
But the beauty is, because Jesus was entrusted to the hands of the Father, it didn’t matter what was said about Him. God always had His way. Even while Jesus was being reviled on the cross, God’s plan was being revealed!
A man named Greg Allen wrote an article on this idea that I gained a lot of insight from. Some of the rest of the message this morning is inspired by his writings.
In Matthew 27, we see that Jesus was reviled by sinners, people whose deeds were known by everyone in town. “Then, two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left” (v. 38).
The word that is used to describe them, in the original language, means much more than simply someone who is caught in the act of theft. The word is better understood as referring to someone who is an outlaw—or a rebel. Luke even goes so far as to call them “criminals” (Luke 23:39)—or, more literally, “evil-doers”. And what’s interesting is that the word that is used by Matthew to describe these two men is the same word John used in his Gospel to describe one of the most notorious criminals in all of human history—Barabbas (John 18:40).
What horrible company our Lord was made to keep at the time of His death! How degrading this was to One so holy! And as we see at the end of this passage, these two vile criminals—who would have been worthy of death by anyone’s assessment—were right then joining in with the crowds that were reviling our Lord. Matthew says that “Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing” that the others were throwing at Him.
But then, we see that they weren’t alone. Matthew tells us, “And those who passed by blasphemed Him . . .” (v. 39). Crucifixions were performed in a very public place, and here we see just passers by, yelling insults at Jesus. They would have known who He was. They would have heard about the miracles He had done. They would have known who He claimed to be, and they certainly would have read the sign above His head that said, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS”. And the scripture says they reviled Him.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Matthew says, “Likewise the chief priest also” (who represented the “religious” class) joined in with the common people and the criminals as they mocked the Lord, “with the scribes (who we might say represented the “educated”) and elders (who we might say represented the “respected”) . . .” You would have thought that such people as this would have been “examples” to the people! You would have thought that they would have tried to bring a sense of soberness to the scene! You would have thought that they would ordered the common people to be silent—telling them that it’s not proper to revile a man on the cross, whoever that man may be. But no! They joined right in.
This reviling was harsh. They twisted His words and turned them against Him. They thought back to what He said at the beginning of His earthly ministry—where He told the Jewish leaders, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). The Scripture explains that He said this about His own body. But they twisted the meaning of His words and mocked Him; saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself!” (v. 40). Even the leaders of the people threw His words back at Him; “He said, ‘I am the Son of God’” (v. 43).
Notice how they also mocked Him with respect to His power. “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross”, they said (v. 40). “If He’s so powerful,” they thought, “Surely nails aren’t strong enough to hold Him there. Let’s see Him prove that He is who He says He is!” Similarly, the leaders said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.”
What they didn’t get is that it wasn’t God’s plan for Him to come down or believe you me, Jesus would have. It was because Jesus had entrusted Himself to the Father’s plan that He didn’t descend from that cross and wipe them all out. It’s because He didn’t save Himself that He could save all of us.
Finally, notice how they mocked Him with respect to His trust in God! Can you imagine the chief priests of the people doing such a thing? But they nevertheless did so. They showed their true nature, and their utter contempt for humble faith in God, when they did. “He trusted in God,” they dared to say; “Let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him . . .” (v. 43).
He was reviled and He didn’t revile back! And as He kept entrusting Himself to the Father the plan of God was revealed. Scripture was coming to life, even as Jesus’ life was ebbing away.
Jesus was crucified in the midst of sinners. He literally hung right there in the middle of two sinners as Isaiah 53:12 prophesied. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors,
and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12).
Jesus could entrust Himself to God because He knew God had it all under control and what was playing out was exactly what had been foretold. Psalm 22:7 says, “All those who see Me ridicule Me; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head . . .”
What’s more, the next verse—Psalm 22:8—prophecies that those who mock the Christ would say, “He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!” And aren’t those almost the exact words with which the chief priests and scribes and elders reviled Him?; “He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him . . .” (v. 43).
The amazing part about any of this is when you entrust yourself to God, He will be revealed, even while you are being reviled. The very people that were reviling Jesus were revealing and confirming that He was who said He was.
Luke’s Gospel gives us a beautiful picture of Jesus, the one who didn’t fight back, who didn’t threaten back, who didn’t curse back, but the one who because HE entrusted Himself to God, He could do ministry even while He was being mistreated. He could accomplish God’s mission even in pain and even with the physical limitations of being nailed to one spot. Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:39-43).
Because Jesus didn’t revile back, one of the thieves on the cross who observed Jesus’ behavior and witnessed His humility, it clicked with Him. He had heard Jesus say, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” He had watched as Jesus took care of His mother, Mary, even from the cross, by assigning John to become her son. The criminal heard Him cry out to His Father in agony and pain. Even though it was a cry for help that didn’t seem to be heard, there was a passionate expression of true relationship that had to be there. As this dying thief truly looked at the Savior, He saw life. He saw the One who had the power to forgive Him and take Him into eternity. Because Jesus didn’t revile back, but kept entrusting Himself to the Father, one of the criminals saw for himself who Jesus was, and Jesus assured Him that He would be going to heaven.
Hebrews 12:2 and 3 say, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Church, I am telling you that because Jesus endured the cross, you can endure anything that will come your way if you will entrust yourself to the Father as Jesus did.
Because Jesus ENTRUSTED Himself, He not only was able to ENDURE, but He was EXALTED and has taken a seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
I asked a question in the opening, on what do we anchor our faith when we entrust ourselves to God? It is this simple fact. God always does what is right. God always does what is just. God always judges righteously. Jesus kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously. If that hadn’t worked for Him all of the years of His life, He wouldn’t be clinging to that strategy on the cross.
If entrusting Himself to the Father had ever failed, He would have reviled back. He would have physically fought crucifixion. He would have tried to escape. He would have publicly cursed God. But listen friends, Jesus could entrust Himself to the Father because He knew it worked in every life situation and now He was going to prove that it worked in death.
5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. 7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret–it leads only to evil. 9 For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. Jesus did Psalm 37 as He hung on the cross.
Jesus knew what the Psalmist knew in Psalm 9:10, “10 Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.”
God is trustworthy. The Bible tells us to trust God. In fact, the middle verse of the Bible is Psalm 118:9 which says “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes,” (KJV). While we sleep, the Lord is awake. Though we cannot see the path ahead of us with all its blessings and troubles, the Lord sees it and guides us through it with His love. God has been ruling the world since before we were born. He will rule in the future. Why should we not entrust ourselves to Him in the present?
Raise your hand if you’ve ever had an answer to prayer that you knew was directly from the hand of God. Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt the presence of God walking with you in a difficult time. Raise your hand if you know you only made it through some circumstance because God saw you through?
Isaiah 26:4 says “Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.” Never will He fail. Never will He fail. Never will He fail.
That doesn’t mean it will necessarily be easy for us to trust God. Sometimes we need to pray, like the man in Mark’s gospel who was let down by Jesus’ disciples and so struggled to trust Jesus himself: “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).
The Apostle Paul said, “I die daily” in I Cor. 15:31. What that means is that daily he hands over the keys and let’s God drive. Daily he relinquishes control. Daily he checks to make sure that he is entrusted to Him who does what is right and just.
Jack was out jogging one day and as he passed a cliff, he got too close and fell. Grabbing hold of a branch he was stranded. No way up and certainly no way down. He began to scream, “Hello up there can anyone hear me.” He yelled for hours and was about to give up when he heard a voice. “Jack, Can you hear me?” “Yes, Yes, I can hear you I’m down here.” “I can see you, Jack, are you alright?” “Yes, but…who are yo and where are you?” “I am the Lord Jack, I am everywhere.” “The Lord? You mean God?” “That’s me.” “God, help me, I promise that if you get me down from here, I’ll stop sinning. I’ll be a really good person and serve you for the rest of my life.” “Easy on the promises, Jack. First let’s get you down, then we can discuss those.” “I’ll do anything, Lord, just tell me what to do, okay?” “Okay, let go of the branch.” “What?” “I said, let go of the branch. Just trust me, let go.” PAUSE “Hello, Hello, is there anybody else up there?”
I’d like to offer hypotheses for your consideration. I think more people trust God with their life for eternity than they trust Him with their life in this life. After all, heaven has so many unknowns. It is so beyond any dimension we’ve ever experienced. Why not trust God with that reality? There’s nothing we could do to try to manage an existence we’ve never seen or experienced. It seems to be the way to go. But there is something about this life that we seem to want to manage and manipulate. We live in an existence in which it seems avoiding pain at all costs and creating pleasure becomes the goal of many. However, we know that many pains we won’t ever avoid since they are simply a part of the human experience. And so we become schizophrenic trying, stressed in trying, tired in trying, fragmented in trying, and completely worn out.
Why not let the God of the universe who is so big, powerful and creative that He can make even our pain and trouble work for us and His glory manage it all? Why wait until heaven to fully surrender? Who not relinquish control to the God who has never mess up? Why not look up to Him for help?
I remember when Joshua was a toddler. Washing his hair was always a tough one. I’d get his hair wet and then I’d lather the shampoo in his hair. But when I went to rinse his hair, I had a tough time getting him to look up at me, to get him to tip his head up so that the shampoo and suds wouldn’t run down into his eyes.
I’d explain that if he would just look up it would be a safe and easy rinse. He would agree; then, as soon as I started to rinse his hair, his fear would overcome his trust, and he would look down again. Naturally the shampoo would run into his face again, and there would be more tears.
I think this parallels our trust issues with God. Do you know God is your Father? Are you sure He loves you? Do you trust Him to do what is right and best only to panic and take your eyes off of Him? It never helps. It only causes you to be blinded by the shampoo. The Psalmist says, “I will lift my eyes to the hills. That’s where my help comes from. My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1
As Jesus was high and lifted up, He entrusted Himself to God although He couldn’t see Him. He entrusted Himself to God although He didn’t get the answer to His question, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” He entrusted Himself as He was reviled and He didn’t revile back. As He kept entrusting Himself to the Father, He was looking to God, once again to do what was just and right. As a result, He was able to endure all things and He was exalted in the end. The same can be true for you.
Corrie Ten Boom who helped many Jews escape the Nazis during WW II who could have chosen to live in constant fear for her life said, “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” She simply kept entrusting herself to God and she was used mightily by Him and for His glory.
I don’t know what percentage of your life you’ve entrusted to God today, but I tell you that if you’ve only given Him your eternity, you are missing the peace, strength, hope, justice, courage, and victory He wants to give you right now. Don’t you think that it’s time to hand yourself over?