Suffering Before Glory

In I Peter 2, Peter describes what Jesus underwent on our behalf, and he holds up that sacrifice as an example to us. In verse 21-25, Christ’s suffering is the basis of our calling. Philippians 2 then gives a clearer picture of what Jesus would go through before His exultation. In his book, Peter relates suffering to glory. Our endurance and perseverance leads to God’ glory and our’s in Him. Paul, in Philippians, details that suffering, that endurance, that perseverance. In recognizing that God has highly exalted Jesus, we must first appreciate the extent to which he submitted Himself.

Christ’s Humility

II Corinthians 8:9 records Paul writing that Jesus made Himself poor, and he writes, in Philippians 2:7, that Jesus submitted as a servant. The Creator of John 1:1 becomes as the created – subject to pain, sorrow, frustration, sickness, and death. In Matthew 20:26-28, when Jesus’ disciples begin to argue over who should be highest in Christ’s kingdom, Jesus remonstrates them to put such thoughts aside, that they should seek servitude as He lives in service.

In Philippians 2:8, Paul writes that Jesus humbled Himself, and this humility would be prerequisite to His coming in the form of man, living in service, or submitting to obedience. In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul pleads for Christians to live in humility, and Ephesians 4:1-3 appeals to a walk of humility. I Peter 5:6 and James 4:10 call on us to humble ourselves before God. Jesus emptied Himself, became a servant, and He learned obedience in humility. In the gospels, He is obedient, even to a humiliating death on the cross.

Emptying Ourselves

Knowing these things and applying them are two different things.

  • Where we would be full of ourselves, our Savior emptied Himself. Galatians 2:20 reminds us we must dethrone self and allow Christ to reign in our hearts.
  • Where we would have others serve our interests, Jesus was servant to all. Whether foreign, poor, rich, sick – Jesus reached out to their needs. Our lives should be ones of service.
  • Where we would exalt ourselves, Jesus humbled Himself. We need to start with humility so we can look to the needs and interests of others.
  • Where we want to do things our way, Jesus willingly and unconditionally obeyed His father. We should have the same trust we see in His submission.


In I Peter 1:22, Jesus calls on us to love one another fervently, living and abiding in the word of God. When we can empty ourselves, humble ourselves, serve others, and obey God, we purify our hearts before the Lord. We should be amazed at what our Savior was willing to do for each of us. The one who knows all things and spoke all things into existence – He did much for us in humility. He faced endurance and suffering before glory and exaltation. We should expect and be willing to submit to no less than that.

lesson by Tim Smelser