Jesus, Our Example

What does it mean to have Jesus as our example and to follow in His footsteps?

Look at I Peter 2:21:

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.

We acknowledge that Christ suffered and died in our behalf, but we do not understand in what way he is our example. We are unable to perform the mighty miracles Jesus performed and we cannot suffer the same agony he endured in Gethsemane and at Calvary. We follow Christ not in the degree of anguish and pain but in the manner in which he endured suffering. Note that Peter confirms this interpretation by quoting repeatedly from Isaiah 53 in the next few verses.

Peter borrows the word example from the educational world. In education this term relates to the training a child receives in school. The word refers to “the faint outlines of letters which were traced over by pupils learning to write, then also of the sets of letters written at the top of a page or other piece of writing material to be copied by the learner on the rest of the page.” Peter uses the noun in a figurative sense. As a child traces letters on a page, so the Christian traces the path of Christ. In this verse, Peter exhorts the reader to follow in Christ’s footsteps (compare Rom. 4:12; 2 Cor. 12:18). The path that Christ has cut is marked by patience, meekness, integrity, and honesty.

He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. – I Peter 2:22

– Hendriksen