In this third installment of a series on patience (the first two installments are here and here), we will look at Jesus and the way He demonstrated patience. This is a valuable exercise, since Jesus shows us what the Father is like, and we have seen that God the Father is patient.
Was Jesus a patient man? Of course! Let’s look at some of the ways this is captured in Scripture.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Hebrews 12:1–3, ESV)
We defined patience earlier as waiting in the midst of suffering. This passage from Hebrews shows that Jesus demonstrated this kind of patience. He endured suffering from sinners, waiting in the midst of it. (Though the English word “patience” isn’t in this Hebrews passage, we connected the idea of endurance to patience in the first post of this series.)
Think about it. The man who was God endured hostility, abuse, and scorn on earth from His creatures. Jesus Himself says at His arrest, “Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53, NASB) The righteous, just retribution that Jesus could have given to those mistreating Him is unfathomable. And yet, He waited.
The example of Jesus’s patience is especially sobering for His followers. The reason that He waited and did not retaliate as He could was because of His mission, appointed by the Father and agreed to by the Son. Instead of doling out punishment, Jesus would absorb it Himself. Instead of crushing His enemies, Jesus would be crushed by His Father for the sake of His enemies.
Lest you think that Jesus’s unique mission makes this display of His patience anything less than an example, we read the following in 1 Peter.
18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. 19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.
21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. (1 Peter 2:18–25, NASB)
The implication in verse 21 is that the patient endurance displayed by a submissive servant, which finds favor with God (v.20), was displayed perfectly as an example for us in Jesus.
We have seen that God is patient and we have now seen that Jesus was patient. We know that we are to be patient as well, so the obvious question is this: How do we get that patience? That’s the subject of the next (and last) post in this series.