Insults and injury always lead to suffering. There are three natural human reactions: retaliation, retreat or passive cowering. But Jesus did none of these. Nor did He use the verbal retaliation of threats as a way to protect Himself (Mark 14:60-61). This was not because He failed to feel the wounds, indeed the pain was intensified knowing that He was bearing God's wrath against our sin (Mark 15:34). But, despite that, Jesus knew that Father God was already in charge of His future, and thus had no need to struggle to guard His own integrity, personality or body: He trusted that His Father would deal with all that, and deal with it perfectly (Luke 23:46).
God always makes the right decisions. His is the all-seeing eye and all-hearing ear. God is just in judging sinners, but also just to put our sins onto Jesus Christ. He is just in accepting the sacrifice of Christ as the payment for our sins (1 John 1:9). And He was fully justified in being pleased at the obedience of Jesus in going to Calvary (Isaiah 53:10). That was why Jesus could endure the cross - by looking ahead to the joy that was before Him (Hebrews 12:2). So the suffering of Jesus was not a passive acceptance of injustice, or mute frustration of not being able to vent anger. He actively accepted that His suffering was part of being in God's will.
Peter had previously linked the suffering of Jesus with that of believers – doubtless recalling Jesus’ words in John 15:20-21 … ‘Remember what I told you: “A servant is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.’ So is the obsession to be religiously cocooned so that we are isolated from the world which hates Jesus, a mark of the true believer? No! 2 Timothy 3:12-13 says, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
Such acceptance of antagonism for the sake of Christ is supernatural. It looks beyond the suffering, to the fulfilment of God's purpose; and looks under the suffering to see God's designer hand (2 Timothy 4:6-8). And that is the way that all followers of Jesus should react to injustice, especially when it comes because of being a servant of Christ. The workplace often provides opportunities to practice this godly reaction when we are misunderstood or simply abused for belonging to Jesus Christ. When suffering comes, it is a test of your faith (James 1:2-4), to see if you will entrust yourself to God (His mercy and His grace) whatever the circumstances; and let Him be the vindicator of the righteous and the judge of the wicked (Romans 12:17-21).
© Dr Paul Adams