Today’s selected reading continues in the first New Testament epistle written by the apostle peter unto the strangers which were scattered abroad. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses twelve through nineteen of the fourth chapter. When you come to this particular portion of the first epistle which the apostle Peter wrote you will not only find the final verses of the chapter, but you will also find the apostle concerning suffering. There are a total of five chapters within the epistle written by the apostle Peter, and four times within the first four chapters we find the apostle writing concerning the suffering of the Christian. The apostle Peter who was no stranger to the suffering of the Messiah, for He was there in the garden when the Messiah was betrayed, and although he followed at a distance, he was there when Jesus was brought to trial before Pontius Pilate. The apostle Peter heard all the words which Jesus spoke concerning Himself and the suffering He puke face and experience at Jerusalem, and on one occasion he even tried rebuking Jesus, saying unto Him that He would not surely die. It was in that moment where the Lord looked at Peter and rebuked Satan for not beating and having in mind the things of God. What is so incredibly interesting about this first epistle which was written by the apostle Peter is that not only does he paint the picture of the suffering of the Christian, but he also paints the picture of the suffering Christ. In fact, if you journey to the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah you will find in most translations the heading “The Suffering Servant.” I would like to take that phrase and adapt and modify it—not only writing and speaking of the suffering Servant and the suffering Messiah, but the suffering Messiah and His suffering disciples. THE SUFFERING SERVANT & THE SUFFERING CHRISTIAN. I am convinced that we cannot understand our own suffering without seeing it through the lens of the suffering of Christ.
I am utterly and completely convinced that we cannot, we dare not: we must not seek to understand our suffering in light of and independently from the suffering of Christ. I have written how it is the suffering of Christ that shines light on our suffering, for the Servant is not above their master. It was Jesus Christ who emphatically declared that in this world we will have many trials, but to not fear, for He has overcome the world. It was Jesus Himself who declared that if they hated Him, so also they would hate us for His name’s sake. Though His public ministry lasted only three and a half years, there is not a doubt in my mind that Jesus readied and prepares His disciples to face, experience and endure suffering after His departure. It’s interesting and worth noting that we don’t read of the suffering of the apostles, nor of their persecution and opposition until we come to the New Testament book of Acts. It is when we come to the New Testament book of Acts where we find the first opposition and oppression to break out against the disciples coming from the same source it cane from during the life and ministry of Jesus. The same religious community which opposed, and ultimately murdered and crucified the Messiah would be the same religious system which would persecute the apostles during the days of the early Church. It would be the Sanhedrin, the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the religious leaders of the day that would beat, and even imprison the apostles during the days of the early church. It would be the people who would take up stones and stone to death the church’s first martyr—Stephen, who was a man full of faith and full of the Spirit. It would be Herod who would put James the brother of John to death, and would have the apostle Peter unordained before and angel of the Lord would miraculously rescue him from prison, and from the murderous threat of Herod.
It is incredibly interesting to read the words which the apostle peter wrote in this particular epistle concerning the suffering of the Christians, and the suffering of the church and body of Christ, for it was the apostle peter who experienced the persecution of the religious community toward and against Jesus. It was the apostle Peter who was imprisoned with the other disciples once before being miraculously delivered out of the prison, and it was the apostle peter who was unordained alone by Herod after he had ordered the death and execution of James the brother of John. What’s more, is that outside of the apostle Paul Himself, the apostle was imprisonments more within the book of Acts that the apostle peter. What’s more, is that in addition to being imorisoned, the apostle Peter was also beaten along with the other disciples. In fact, the beloved physician Luke records that when the apostle were beaten after standing before the Sanhedrin, they all walked away glorifying and worshipping the Father in heaven for counting them worthy to partake of the sufferings of Jesus Christ. For the apostles—suffering and experiencing persecution was a way for them to share in and partake of the sufferings which Jesus Himself faced and experienced. For the apostles, they counted it a wonderful privilege and honor to partake of the sufferings of Christ, and to identify and advocate themselves with Him. Pause for a moment and consider that reality for a moment—the reality that the apostles actually rejoiced in the midst of their suffering and persecution, and considered themselves blessed in the face of persecution, for they were able to join in and partake of the sufferings of Jesus Christ. The apostles took to heart the words which Jesus Himself spoke and declared when He called to rejoice when they are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and for His name’s sake. I can’t help but be absolutely and totally gripped and captivated by the fact that the disciples and apostles or Jesus Christ actually counted it a privilege to identify themselves with Christ—these same disciples who at one point locked themselves inside and upper room for fear of suffering the same fate as Jesus Christ. It’s absolutely and utterly amazing that these same apostles who at one point cowered in fear in an upper room would not only find themselves baptized in that place of fear, but also emboldened by the same Spirit.
EMPOWERED IN THE PLACE OF FEAR! EMBOLDENED IN THE PLACE OF FEAR! I can to escape the awesome and tremendous reality and concept of the disciples who isolated and separated themselves from the rest of the world for fear of suffering and persecution. I can’t help but be reminded of the disciples who locked themselves in an upper room in order to somehow shield and protect themselves from being hunted down by the same murderers who crucified their Lord only days before. What makes this even more interesting, and what makes this even more intense is when you consider that not only was the apostle Peter among those who had locked themselves in the upper room during the days of Jesus’ burial, and even after Jesus’ resurrection, but the apostle Peter was also that one disciple who not only denied knowing Jesus Christ for fear of being seized suffering the same fate as Jesus. Moreover, it was the apostle Peter who once Jesus was seized and led away to trial, followed behind at a distance. Before we even get into a discussion about the upper room, it is first necessary and imperative that we bring our attention to to the actions of the apostle Peter which led up to his being among those who were locked in the upper room to protect and keep themselves safe. In order to gain further insight into what led to being locked and isolated in the upper room during the days of Jesus’ burial, it is first necessary that we turn and direct our attention to the fleeing of the disciples, the following afar off of the apostle Peter, and Peter’s denial of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you begin reading with and from verse fifty of the fourteenth chapter of Mark’s gospel in the New Testament, you will find the account of all the disciples fleeing and scattering upon the arrest of Jesus in the garden: “And they all forsook Him, and fled. And there followed Him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: and he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked” (Mark 14:50-52). It is within these two verses where we not only find Jesus being seized and arrested, but we also find the disciples forsaking and fleeing from the presence of Jesus there in the garden. There was one young man who followed Jesus, but when they seized him, he fled from their presence naked leaving his linen cloth behind. As you continue reading in the fourteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Mark, you will find the account of the apostle Peter following Jesus afar off after he was seized by the men which were brought against Him in the garden. In verses fifty-three through sixty-five you will find the account of Jesus being seized and led away by the soldiers to the high priest, and the apostle Peter following afar off. Consider if you will the words which are recorded in this particular passage of Scripture:
“And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. And Peter followed Him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire. And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put Him to death; and found none. For many bare false witness against Him, but their witness agreed not together. And there arose certain, and bare false witness against Him, saying, We heard Him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. But neither so did their witness agree together. And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? What is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, and said unto Him, Art thou the Christ, the son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants dies strike Him with the palms of their hands” (Mark 14:53-65).
In this particular portion of the fourteenth chapter of Mark’s gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, we find the arrest of Jesus Christ, and his being led away to the high priest. Within this passage of Scripture we find the account of the apostle Peter who after Jesus was seized and arrested, followed Him afar off. The apostle Peter would not risk being seen with Jesus Christ—especially during such dark days when He was about to be brought to trial before the high priest, and possibly even crucified and put to death. Instead of following Jesus closely and associating himself with the Christ, Peter followed afar off, and when they had come to the palace of the high priest, sat among the servants and warmed himself at the fire. It’s important that we recognize and understand this, for the apostle Peter wasn’t always one who could bear up under suffering, and he wasn’t always one who rejoiced in being able to partake in the sufferings of Jesus the Christ. The apostle Peter wasn’t always one who was emboldened and filled with courage and strength in the face of persecution and opposition. Although he was quite impetuous and impulsive with his words during those three and a half years of Jesus’ public ministry, when it came time to actually put his money where his mouth was, he chose instead to follow afar off. Although the apostle Peter at one point declared that he would gladly and willingly die with Jesus Christ, and that where He went, he would go also—when the time of Christ’s arrest and trial came to pass, the apostle not only followed afar off and sat among the servants, but the apostle Peter also denied even knowing Jesus Christ. Within the gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus you will notice that all them point to one single reality concerning Peter’s denial of the Lord Jesus Christ—not only did He deny him once, not only did he deny Him twice, but he denied Him three times. In fact, when you continue reading the fourteenth chapter of the gospel according to Mark, you will find the account of Peter’s denial when questioned and asked about his relationship and association with Jesus the Christ. While Christ was on trial, Peter’s association and relationship with Jesus was brought into question, and in that moment—instead of showing and displaying strength, fortitude, courage and boldness, he cowered in fear. If you begin reading with and from the sixty-sixth verse of the fourteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel of Mark you will find the following words concerning Peter’s denial of the Lord Jesus Christ:
“And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priests: and when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. And a made saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept” (Mark 14:66t-72).
Within the fourteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Mark—not only do we find the disciples forsaking Jesus the Christ and fleeing away from His presence, but we also find the apostle Peter following afar off while He was being led away to trial after being arrested. Furthermore, within this passage of Scripture we find the apostle Peter denying knowing and having any relationship and associating with the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only did the apostle Peter follow Jesus afar off rather than closely, but the apostle Peter also denied knowing and being associated with Jesus three times. It’s interesting and worth noting that while Jesus the Christ stood trial before the high priest, so also was Peter’s relationship with Christ brought into question. THE TRIAL OF CHRIST & THE TRIAL OF RELATIONSHIP! I can’t help but be consumed with the fact that while Jesus Christ stood trial after being betrayed in the garden, there was another trial which was taking place among the servants beneath the palace. The trial which was taking place beneath the palace among the servants was not a trial of Christ, but it was a trial of the faith, the courage, the boldness, and the strength of the apostle Peter. What’s more, is that this secondary trial was a trial of relationship, for Peter’s trial took place in three distinct and three different phases, for not once, not twice, but three times his relationship and association with Jesus Christ was called into question. If you read in the fourth chapter of the first New Testament epistle which the apostle wrote, you will find him writing concerning the fiery trial which came to test us, and I am convinced that at this moment while Jesus stood on trial, the faith of the apostle Peter was severely tested. We must recognize and understand that while Jesus Christ was the main attraction, and while Jesus the Christ stood on trial before the mob, and before the high priest, there was a secondary trial which was taking place beneath the palace among the servants—one that would bring about the fulfillment of the words which Jesus Christ Himself spoke and declared concerning Peter. As I sit here this morning I can’t help but see the trial of the apostle Peter in direct connection with the trial of Jesus Christ, and that the two trials are almost intrinsically linked and connected. I am sure in that moment the apostle Peter had absolutely know clue that his own trial would be so closely linked and connected to the trial of Christ, however, the more I read, and the more I consider what is found in Scripture, the more I am convinced that the apostle Peter himself faced a trial of faith there among the servants beneath the palace.
THE TRIAL OF CHRIST & THE TRIAL OF FAITH! It’s worth noting that whereas Christ was being falsely accused and maligned before the high priest and in the company of the mob, the trial which the apostle Peter was facing and experiencing was a trial of faith and relationship. The trial which the apostle Peter faced and experienced was a trial of denial, for the apostle Peter was faced three times with whether or not he would confirm and affirm association and relationship with Jesus, or would deny knowing and being associated with Him. A TRIAL OF DENIAL! We must recognize and understand that the trial of the apostle Peter was a trial of denial, for his trial was one that brought into question his relationship with, and his association with Jesus the Christ. On each occasion he was questioned about his relationship with Jesus the Christ, the apostle Peter denied knowing Him, and on the third and final denial, not only did he deny knowing Christ, but he also began to curse and swear. The third and final denial was one that was more vehement and more forceful than the previous two, for the apostle Peter was unwilling to admit association and relationship with Jesus the Christ. I am sure that when the apostle Peter drew his sword and smote off the ear of one of the servants of the high priest, he did not have any clue that in just a short while he too would face and experience his own trial. I am sure that the apostle Peter had absolutely no idea that in a matter of hours he would find himself standing beneath the palace among the servants and experiencing his own trial—a trial of faith and relationship with Jesus the Christ. The truth of the matter is that in that moment the apostle Peter found himself experiencing a tremendous trial of faith which not only came to try and test him, but also came to try his faith, his courage, his strength, his boldness, and ultimately his relationship with Jesus Christ. We dare not miss or lose sight of this reality, for it is one that brings us face to face with the fact that the apostle Peter wasn’t’ always one who boasted strength, fortitude, boldness and courage when asked about his relationship with Jesus Christ. There was a point within the life of the apostle Peter when his faith was brought into question, and when he himself was put on trial alongside Jesus Christ—albeit a trial that centered upon his knowledge of and relationship with Jesus the Christ. I am sitting here this morning, and I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Jesus Himself spoke concerning the apostle Peter, and Satan’s desire to destroy the apostle Peter. What’s more, is that there appears to be a direct link between the trial of Peter’s faith, Satan’s desire to sift him as wheat, and his denial of Jesus Christ. IN the twenty-second chapter of the New Testament gospel of Luke you will find all three of these realities intrinsically linked and connected:
“And the Lord said, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And He said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knoweest me. And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, and he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough” (Luke 22:31-38).
Notice within this passage of Scripture that not only did Jesus declare unto Peter how Satan desired to have him that he might sift him as wheat, but Jesus also declared unto Peter that he prayed for him, that his faith would fail not. Please don’t miss the tremendous significance and importance of those words, for not only does Jesus link the trial of Peter among the servants to Satan’s desire to have him to sift him as wheat, but he also linked it to being a trial of his faith. Jesus knew and understood that that which was going to be put on trial on that moment would be the faith of the apostle Peter, and Jesus prayed for that faith in order that it might not fail. When the apostle Peter wrote in the fourth chapter concerning the fiery trial which was come to try us, he knew and understood that it was a trial of faith, for the trials we face in life are trials of and trials against our faith. WHEN FAITH IS PUT ON TRIAL! I can’t help but be consumed with the reality that when Peter stood on trial before the servants beneath the palace—in that moment, not only was Satan seeking to have him that he might sift him as wheat, but the faith of the apostle Peter was being tested and put on trial. What’s more, is that within this passage found in the gospel of Luke, Jesus declared unto Peter that when he was converted—in other words, when he had come out on the other side of the trial—he was to strengthen his brethren. Oh how I absolutely love these words of the Lord Jesus Christ, for while on the one hand he declared unto Peter his faith would go on and would stand trial, He also promised and declared that he would come out on the other side of that trial. I firmly believe that Jesus’ words concerning Peter’s conversion and his strengthening his brethren were words which pointed to the awesome fact that he would emerge from, and would come out on the other side of the trail. What’s more, is that not only would he come out on the other side of the trial with his faith in tact and strengthened, but the apostle Peter would also strengthen his brethren. In fact, I am convinced that what the apostle Peter was doing in this first epistle which was written unto the strangers which were scattered was fulfilling Jesus’ words to strength his brethren. Through the writing of this epistle the apostle Peter was seeking and setting out to strengthen his brethren—to strengthen their faith, and to encourage them in the midst of their suffering, in the midst of their affliction, in the midst of their adversity, in the midst of their temptations, and in the midst of their trails. The apostle Peter knew, recognized and understood the tremendous worth and value of our faith being tested and tried, and he sought to encourage the saints and his brethren in the face of such fiery trials.
I wrote earlier in this writing concerning being strengthened in the place of fear, and being empowered in the place of fear, and I feel it necessary to bring and call our attention to this, for it shines a tremendous amount of light on the fear of the disciples, and how incredibly important the day of Pentecost was. I am wonderfully and powerfully gripped by the fact that during the days of Jesus’ burial in the tomb, as well as even after Jesus rose from and emerged from the grave, the disciples found themselves locked in a room for fear of the Jews. These same disciples who would later rejoice that they would be counted worthy to partake of the sufferings of Jesus Christ would prior to that find themselves locked in an upper room for fear of the Jews. If you journey to the twentieth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John you will find two distinct accounts of the disciples and apostles being locked in an upper room for fear of the Jews and what they might do unto them. If you begin reading with and from the nineteenth verse of this particular chapter you will find the following words written concerning the disciples and their being frightened and afraid of the Jews who crucified their Lord and Master. Consider if you will the words which the apostle John wrote in this chapter beginning with the nineteenth verse:
“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had no said, He shewed unto them His hands and His side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas was with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:24-29).
In the twentieth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John we find the disciples locked in a room completely separated from the outside world, for they greatly feared the Jews. In the twentieth chapter of the gospel according to John, not only do we find it spoken of them being in the room with the doors locked, but we find it a second time as well. On the first occasion, all the disciples were there, save Thomas, and Jesus Christ appeared unto them and instructed them to not be faithless, but believing. Eight days later we find the disciples still in the room, but with the notable exception that this time Thomas was found among them. On this second occasion Jesus appeared unto them a second time, and allowed Thomas to place his finger in the print of the nails, and to place his hand on the side of Jesus where the spear was thrust. I absolutely love how in that place of fear, and in that place of terror and dread, not only did Jesus appear among them twice, but we also find Jesus breathing on them and encouraging their faith. This is absolutely significant, for when you come to the first chapter of the New Testament book of Acts you will find the disciples, together with the women, Mary the mother of Jesus, and with Jesus’ brethren being with one accord in prayer and supplication. Beginning with the twelfth verse you will find the following words: “Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of the name’s together were about an hundred and twenty,) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake concerning Judas” (Acts 1:12-16). Within this passage of Scripture we find the disciples, together with Mary the mother of Jesus, Jesus’ brethren, and the women—all together a total of one hundred and twenty souls—in an upper room where they continued with one accord in prayer and supplication. When you come to the second chapter of the same New Testament book you will find the account of the day of Pentecost, which would take place a full fifty days after the death of Jesus Christ. Beginning with the first verse of the second chapter we find the following words:
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers of Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphyilia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, DCretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine” (Acts 2:1-13).
I absolutely love what I read and find in the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts, for I am convinced that in the same place where the disciples were found in fear, they were empowered and emboldened by the Holy Spirit of the living God. What’s more, is that there in the place of fear, there in the place of terror and dread, Jesus would appear among them, and would encourage and strengthen their faith. What’s more, is that it would be Jesus Himself who would call them out of the place of fear, and into a place of ascension where He would not only commission them, but would also ascend unto the right hand of the Father before their very eyes. Upon the ascension of Jesus Christ unto the right hand of His Father who was in heaven, the disciples would return to Jerusalem, and would once more be found in an upper room where they would continue together with one accord in prayer and supplication. It was there in the upper room where the Holy Spirit—the promise of the Father released by Jesus Christ from the right hand of majesty—would be released and poured out. It would be the release of the Holy Spirit of the living God that would empower, embolden and strengthen the disciples, and bring them to the place where they would not only proclaim and publish the good news of the gospel concerning Jesus Christ and the kingdom of heaven, but also where they would strengthen and encourage their brethren. When you come to the fourth chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Peter, you find him writing unto his audience, and instructing them to not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try them, as though something strange happened unto them. In other words, that which the apostle Peter was writing and trying to convey unto them was that they be not alarmed, nor shocked, nor surprised by the fiery trial(s) which came to try them, but to instead anticipate, expect, and even rejoice in those fiery trials. The apostle Peter—before he was ever imprisoned by Herod and the religious community, and before he along with the other disciples were beaten and commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus—would experience his own trial of faith. The apostle Peter would experience his own trial of faith when after following afar off, his faith would be called into question on three separate occasions, and by three different individuals. We cannot read the words which the apostle Peter wrote in this first epistle without recognizing and understanding the tremendous trial of faith which he experienced on the same night Jesus was betrayed and set on trial Himself. I have written that we cannot view our suffering independent of the suffering of Jesus Christ, and I would also dare state that we cannot, we should not, and must view our trial(s) independent and separate form the trial of Christ. The very same night the trial of the apostle Peter’s faith was directly linked, and intrinsically connected to the trial of Jesus before the Sanhedrin, and before the religious community. With all of this being said, it is absolutely necessary that we “rejoice, inasmuch as we are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, we may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12-13).