“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:”
leaving us an example
“Leaving” means to leave behind. Jesus left behind an example for us to follow.
This is the only occurrence of the Greek word “example” in the New Testament. Literally, it means “underwriting.” It is a writing or drawing that a student reproduces.
The word “example” is a model or pattern to be copied in writing or drawing. This word comes from a compound Greek word (under, to write). It was an under-writing (to write under, to trace letters for copying by scholars). Therefore, it is a writing-copy. The writing-copy usually included all the letters of the alphabet. It was given to beginners as an aid in learning to draw. Christ left for us by his sufferings a writing-copy.
The word “example” means a thing to be retained. An “example” was a model for setting up an imitation, such as a header for a copybook. In patterning our life after Christ, God wants us to write our life under his. He is our pattern by which we are to copy our lives after. God wants us to copy our lives just like the child in grade school copies an example of writing.
God wants us to use Christ as a pattern of unjust suffering.
We often go outside the guidelines of Jesus’ example of unjust suffering. Every day we write on the page of life. When we hold up our writing to what Jesus wrote in life, the comparison is minimal. Yet the more we practice the life of Christ, the more we become like him.
Each of us will take our copy books to Jesus one day. Then he will give us our grades. How have you measured up to his unjust suffering?