“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost penned those words, but Jesus could have spoken them with far more truth and conviction. Jesus lived in an age when his Jewish contemporaries expected God to send a Savior, a Messiah, to rescue Israel. Most expected that the Messiah would pursue prestige and power to mold Israel once more into a political force to be feared by the rest of the world. Jesus was the Messiah. He knew the expectations, and yet, He resisted that temptation. He took the road less travelled, and that made all the difference for Him, for you, and for me. Jesus chose the path that led to Calvary – a path marked by controversy and filled with suffering.
In I Peter 3:13-22, after describing how the Christian should conduct himself in several social relationships, Peter reveals how Christians may have to suffer even though they are living lives that do not hurt anyone, that do not violate any laws. Peter states that the path of suffering, for the Christian as it was for Christ, is the road to glory. He tells how to walk that unappealing road, even while he stresses that suffering by itself accomplishes nothing. If you suffer because you violate the law, you receive what you deserve. As Christians, we seek to do right, not to suffer, but to realize that even if we do what is right, we still may suffer. He advises, “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.” (I Peter 3:14-16)
We endure because we have been brought to God by Jesus, made alive by God in baptism, and saved by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Even if suffering should come our way, be strong and endure!