”Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.”
Who, when He was reviled
“Who” here is Jesus. This speaks of Jesus’ undeserved suffering.
“Reviled” means to abuse, insult, slander (John 9:28; Acts 23:4; I Cor. 4:12). People blasphemed Jesus. They mocked him and called him dirty names. Even when they put a crown of thorns on his head and mocked him as a king, he did not retaliate. None of this could cause him to compromise his character. Just because someone provokes us to sin does not justify the sin. We always have higher reasons to avoid sin.
Hebrews 12:3, “For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”
His friends said that he was insane:
Mark 3:21, “But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, ‘He is out of His mind.’”
His enemies called him names:
Matthew 11:10, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”
Most of Jesus’ enemies were religious leaders. This crowd was jealous and bitter toward him. They expressed their hate for him in criticism. They maligned his character and works.
did not revile in return
“Revile in return” in the Greek means to revile back or again. Jesus did not retaliate when people attacked him with slander and insult. He did not return the insult.
Jesus did not give tit for tat. He was not in the business of getting even. Some of us would even the score even if it kills us – and it may! By nature, we are vindictive. Vindictiveness will eat our hearts out. It will sour our spirit.
If we spend all our time defending ourselves, we will have no time for the offense. We cannot win the game with defense only. We need a potent offense. The best defense is a strong offense. As this is true in athletics, it is also true in the spiritual life. If we spend our time defending ourselves, we will not be like the Savior.
Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.”
Their evil accusations brought no reply from his lips. Jesus claimed the principle found in Romans 12:19 “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” This means that he operated from character, not circumstance.
God wants us to be free from vengeance and leave retaliation in his hands.
How unlike the Savior we are. As soon as someone starts a rumor about us, we get on our high horse. Our backs arch like a cat. We show our fangs. We are ready to do battle. If given a change, we will hang their hide on the wall.
This is so unlike our Lord. We are still in kindergarten spiritually. We believe that we must defend ourselves and vindicate ourselves. When it came to this kind of thing, our Lord Jesus was not concerned about his reputation.
Are you willing to leave retaliation in God’s hands? This is not to imply that we are to be passive in our relationships. Jesus often confronted those around him, but he was not vindictive.