The Sufferings of Christ: Exemplary, Substitutionary, and Triumphant -- By: David J. MacLeod

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 14:1 (Summer 2005)
Article: The Sufferings of Christ: Exemplary, Substitutionary, and Triumphant
Author: David J. MacLeod

The Sufferings of Christ:
Exemplary, Substitutionary, and Triumphant

(1 Peter 3:18–22 and Possible Parallels: Ephesians 4:8–9 and 1 Peter 4:6)

David J. MacLeod

Dave MacLeod is Dean for Biblical Studies at Emmaus Bible College and Associate Editor of The Emmaus Journal.

The Christian church has just gone through the bloodiest century of its history. More people have been killed for their faith in Christ in the twentieth century than in the previous nineteen, according to statistician David Barrett.1 The problem is not in finding examples of this terrible reality; the problem is in trying to pick just one or two stories out of so many to illustrate the point.2 In North Korea Christians must meet secretly or else they are arrested and imprisoned. In northern Nigeria, believers are subjected to Islamic Shari‘ah law, which punishes Christian worshippers with amputation, floggings, and stoning.3 With shocking regularity there are reports of the death of Christians at the hands of Muslim militants in northern Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East. Recently, gunmen from the “Army of Omar” opened fire on a Protestant congregation meeting at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in Bahawalpur, killing sixteen.4

Several years ago, a different form of persecution was reported in Hartford, Connecticut. A young Jewish lawyer was converted to Christ in a Missionary Alliance Church. His parents did nothing. Later he married a Gentile girl who was an evangelical Christian. Still his parents did nothing. But then he was

baptized by Christian baptism. Immediately his parents disowned their son and held a public funeral for him.5

These stories from the present time are just a few examples of the world’s continuing quarrel with Jesus Christ and his people. One could add the persecution faced by believers on the job, in school, or in their homes, because of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter would not have been surprised by these accounts. He was writing (between A.D. 62-64)6 to a group of Christians in Asia Minor who were facing severe persecution, so severe in fact that some had died as martyrs because of their faith (cf. You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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