When the Trial of False Accusation Meets the Trial of Relationship

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically, today’s passage begins with the sixty-ninth verse of the twenty-sixth chapter and continues through to the tenth verse of the twenty-seventh chapter. When you come to this particular portion of scripture you will find the twenty-sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew drawing to a close and the twenty-seventh chapter beginning and opening. What is actually quite interesting about how the twenty-sixth chapter ends and concludes is that it does so with the apostle Peter being questioned not once, nor twice, but three times concerning his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. If you read the final section of this twenty-sixth chapter you will find that it brings us face to face with the actions of the apostle Peter when questioned about his knowledge of and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. What I happen to find to be so incredibly intriguing about this chapter and how it plays out is that there are two specific events which took place in this chapter that were both foretold by Jesus Christ before they even took place. What we find within this chapter is essentially a dual fulfillment—a fulfillment of all that had been prophesied concerning the suffering and death of the Messiah by the ancient Hebrew prophets, as well as a fulfillment of that which Jesus Himself prophesied and foretold concerning two of His disciples. As you read this passage of scripture you will find the fulfillment of that which Jesus prophesied and foretold concerning Judas, as well as that which He prophesied concerning Simon who was called Peter. It’s so incredibly interesting and intriguing that what we read and find within this chapter is a wonderful and powerful fulfillment of everything that had been prophesied and foretold long before by the ancient prophets, as well as that which was written and contained within the Law. It is when we come to this passage of scripture that we not only find the beginning of the fulfillment of everything that had been foretold by the prophets about the suffering of Jesus, but also that which was foretold by Jesus Himself concerning Simon called Peter and Judas.

The twenty-sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of the apostle Matthew is one that is absolutely and incredibly intriguing, for not only do we find written and contained within it the conspiracy of religion, but we also find within it the betrayal of relationship, as well as the denial of relationship. This chapter opens and begins with the scribes, the elders of Israel and the chief priests conspiring together to lay hold of and seize Jesus in order that they might put Him to death, and as the chapter moves forward and progresses, we find the betrayal of relationship, as Judas secretly met with the religious community and system during that day concerning how much they would give him if he betrayed Jesus into their hands. Oh please don’t miss everything that takes place within this chapter, for while it is true we do see and we do have the conspiracy of religion against Jesus the Christ, we also have within it the betrayal of relationship, as well as the denial of relationship. Within this chapter we find the lives of two disciples seemingly playing on the forefront of that which took place in the life of Jesus on this fateful night. While this chapter and essentially all of scripture is centered around and all about the Lord Jesus Christ, what we find within this chapter are the lives of two men whose lives, and the events of their lives which are also on the forefront of the landscape during that day, and even directly linked and connected to and with the suffering of Jesus Christ. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that when we read this chapter we clearly see that while it is a chapter that describes and is centered upon the betrayal of Jesus into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes, and elders of Israel, and a chapter about the beginning of the suffering of Jesus, it is also a chapter about the betrayal of Judas against Jesus, and the denial of Peter as it pertained to relationship with and knowledge of Jesus. We would be incredibly wise to recognize and understand the direct link and connection the lives of these two men played in the suffering of Jesus Christ, and how the events that unfolded within their lives were foretold and prophesied by Jesus the Christ. In fact, on multiple occasions within this chapter alone we find Jesus again speaking of His betrayer, and at one point even declaring that His betrayer was near.

The twenty-sixth chapter presents us with the betrayal of Jesus, and the subsequent suffering that would ensue as a direct result of that betrayal. It’s absolutely and incredibly interesting and intriguing to come to this particular chapter found within the New Testament gospel of Matthew and find the beginning of the fulfillment of everything the law and the prophets foretold about concerning Jesus beginning to come to pass. As you read this chapter you will find that it begins with Jesus once more speaking unto and revealing unto His disciples that He would be betrayed unto the hands of the scribes, elders of Israel and chief priests, and how He must suffer and ultimately die and be put to death. We dare not miss the tremendous significance and importance of what takes place within this chapter, for most of what we find, and much of what is contained within this chapter describes the beginning of the fulfillment of all that had been prophesied d foretold concerning Jesus the Christ by both the law, as well as the prophets. I am convinced that in order for us to truly and properly understand that which was written and contained within this passage of Scripture, it is necessary for us to first consider and have our attention be brought to that which Jesus foretold concerning His betrayal, His suffering, His death, as well as His resurrection. If you study the New Testament gospel of Matthew you will find the first mention of Jesus’ betrayal in the hands of the chief priests, scribes and elders being mentioned and found within the sixteenth chapter of this same New Testament gospel. As you read the sixteenth chapter you will notice that the words which Jesus spoke concerning His betrayal and subsequent suffering and death came directly on the heels of His confronting His disciples—first concerning who men said that He was, and second whom they themselves said that He was. Consider if you will that which we find written in the sixteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel beginning with the thirteenth verse of this particular chapter:

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto Him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged He His disciples that they should tell no man that He was Jesus the Christ…”

“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples how that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised against the third day. Then Peter took Him, and Bergman to rebuke Him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: This shall not be unto thee. But He turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His kingdom” (Matthew 16:13=28).

The words and language we find written within this particular passage of Scripture not only bring us face to face with who we the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ say and believe Him to be, but it also brings us face to face with the beginning of Jesus foretelling His disciples concerning His betrayal, His suffering, His death, and ultimately His resurrection. Within the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew we are brought face to face with the reality of Jesus the Christ knowing that He was going to be betrayed into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel, and that once betrayed into their hands, He would suffer many things, and would ultimately be put to death. Sixteen chapters into the New Testament gospel of Matthew we find Jesus the Christ beginning to prophesy and speak unto His disciples concerning events which would take place within His life—namely, that He would be betrayed into the hands of the religious system and community, that He would suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests, scribes and elders, and would ultimately be put to death. That which is found in this particular chapter is of incredible importance concerning that which we find in the twenty-sixth chapter of this same New Testament gospel, for what we find within this chapter is the beginning of Jesus foretelling the disciples concerning His betrayal and suffering, and ultimately His death which would ensue as a direct result of both the betrayal and the suffering. If you continue reading the New Testament gospel of Matthew you will come to the twentieth chapter, and within the twentieth chapter you will again find Jesus speaking very candidly and openly unto His disciples concerning His betrayal, His suffering, and ultimately His death. When you come to the twentieth chapter you will find it opening up and beginning with a parable concerning a householder and master going into the city and into the marketplace to hire laborers to work in his vineyard and agreeing to pay them a penny for their labor. Immediately following this parable—a parable in which Jesus concluded it by declaring that the last shall be first, the first shall be last, and many are called, but few are chosen—we find Jesus going up to Jerusalem and taking His disciples apart in the way toward Jerusalem in order that He might speak unto them something very specific and very particular. If you begin reading with and from the seventeenth verse of the twentieth chapter you will again find Jesus foretelling and prophesying concerning His betrayal, and the subsequent events which would take place as a direct result of that betrayal. Consider if you will the words which are found in this passage of Scripture beginning with the seventeenth verse:

“And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify Him: and the third day He shall rise again” (Matthew 20:17-19).

As you read these three verses your will find the second occurrence within the life and ministry of Jesus Christ where He brought the disciples apart from the crowds and apart from the multitudes in order that He might reveal unto them something very specific concerning the events which would unfold within His life. When you begin reading with and from this verse you will find Jesus going up to Jerusalem and taking the twelve disciples apart in the way, and speaking unto them how they were going up to Jerusalem, and how the Son of man would be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and how they would condemn Him to death. After condemning Jesus to death, He would be delivered unto the Gentiles to mock, and to scrounge, and to be crucified, yet on the third day He would rise again. That which is contained within this brief passage of Scripture is once more a declaration and foretelling of Jesus concerning His going unto Jerusalem and suffering many things at the hands of the chief priests, scribes and elders of Israel, however, there are essentially two differences that are contained within this passage of Scripture. While there are only three verses to this particular passage of Scripture we notice two distinct differences between that which Jesus spoke unto and told His disciples on this particular occasion, and that which Jesus spoke unto the disciples earlier on. You will recall from the words which were written and contained within the sixteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel that Jesus did in fact speak unto His disciples and declare unto them that He would suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests, scribes and elders, and would ultimately be put to death and raise to life again on the third day. What we find to be different within this passage of Scripture, however, is that Jesus added on this occasion that He would be betrayed into the hands of the chief priests, scribes and elders, as well as the fact that He would be delivered into hands of the Gentiles who would mock, scourge, and crucify Him. The key differences between what we read and what we find in that which is contained within the sixteenth chapter, and that which is found within the twentieth chapter is the fact that in this chapter we find Jesus adding that He would be betrayed, and that He would be delivered into the hands of the Gentiles who would mock, scourge and crucify Him. In all reality, there is essentially a third key difference that is found within this passage of Scripture from that which we find and read in the sixteenth chapter, and that is that when speaking unto His disciples on this particular occasion, we find Jesus adding the method of His being put to death—namely, that He would be crucified. By mentioning the means and method of how He would die, that which Jesus was doing was revealing the people who would be responsible for crucifying and putting Him to death, for crucifixion wasn’t a Jewish practice, but rather a Roman practice. Thus, within this particular passage of Scripture—not only do we find Jesus adding that He would be betrayed into the hands of the chief priests, scribes and elders of Israel, not only do we find that Jesus would be delivered into the hands of the Gentiles to mock, to scourge, and to be put to death, but we also find Jesus revealing the means and methods of His being put to death, and His identifying the people who would be responsible for putting Him to death.

Bringing and calling your attention back to the twenty-sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew we find within the first two verses Jesus speaking unto His disciples and once more declaring unto them the reality of His being put to death. What’s so intriguing about that which is written and that which is contained within this passage of Scripture is that the only two things Jesus mentions is that He would be betrayed, and that He would be betrayed to be crucified. When speaking unto the disciples in this passage of Scripture, Jesus didn’t make any mention of the chief priests, scribes or elders nor did he make any mention of His suffering at the hands of the chief priests, scribes, and elders. The only thing Jesus mentions within this passage of Scripture is that He would be betrayed, and that His betrayal would ultimately lead to and bring about His crucifixion. This is incredibly important, for by mentioning crucifixion once more, that which. Jesus is doing is once more identifying the people who would ultimately put Him to death, for only the Romans employed crucifixion as means to put someone to death under and according to their laws and practices. What we find and read within this passage of Scripture is not only Jesus once more foretelling His betrayal and His being put to death, but we also find the beginning of the fulfillment of everything that had been prophesied within the law and by the prophets. I can’t help but read this particular passage and find within it a dual fulfillment of not only that which was foretold and prophesied concerning Jesus the Christ by the law and the prophets, but also that which would be prophesied and foretold concerning two of His own disciples. When you read verses fourteen through sixteen you will find Judas Iscariot going unto the chief priests, scribes and elders of Israel in order to bargain with them a price for betraying Jesus the Christ into their hands. Immediately after consulting and conferring with the chief priests, scribes and elders of Israel, Judas began to search and look for opportunity to betray Jesus into their hands, in order that He might experience everything the chief priests, scribes and elders had planned for Him. That which is most interesting about what we find contained and written within this chapter is how the lives of two of Jesus’ own disciples were intertwined with his suffering, as well as with His death. As you read this chapter from beginning to end, you will notice the betrayal of Judas, as well as Jesus finally revealing unto His disciples whom His betrayer would be. If you begin reading with and from the twentieth verse of this chapter you will find Jesus sitting down at the table to partake of the Passover supper with His disciples. It would be there at the Passover supper and at the Passover table Jesus would speak unto His disciples and indicate and reveal who it was who would betray him. Beginning to read with and from the twentieth verse of this chapter you will find the following words:

“Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, which betrayed Him, answered, and said, Master, is it i? He said unto him, Thou hast said” (Matthew 26:20-25).

Moving forward even further within this chapter, and in all reality only a few short verses later, you will find Jesus prophesying and foretelling something which would take place within the life of Simon who was also called Peter. If you begin reading with and from the thirtieth verse of this chapter you will find that after they had sung a hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. It would be here at this place within the chapter where we find Jesus speaking unto the disciples concerning their being scattered, and their forsaking and abandoning Him, and Simon’s response to Jesus. Please note and please keep in mind that Simon had already rebuked Jesus when He first declared unto them that He would suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests, scribes and elders, and would be crucified and rise from death to life on the third day. Now, on this particular occasion we find the apostle Peter disagreeing with that which Jesus spoke unto them concerning all of the disciples being scattered and forsaking Him. Consider if you will that which is found in this chapter beginning with the thirtieth verse:

“And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Peter answered and said unto Him, Thou all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto Him, Thou I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples” (Matthew 26:30-35).

Please don’t miss what is written and recorded within this particular chapter, for not only do we find Jesus foretelling who would betray Him into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders, but we also find Jesus revealing unto Simon called Peter that He would deny Him three times. Thus, within this very chapter we not only have the betrayal of relationship as Judas conspired with the chief priests, the scribes and the elders to betray Jesus, but we we also have the denial of relationship as Simon denied Jesus three times when questioned whether or not He knew Him. In verses forty-seven through fifty-six we not only find the betrayal of Judas in the garden of Gethsemane, but we also find the disciples being scattered and forsaking Jesus the Christ. Within this particular passage of Scripture we find the direct fulfillment of two distinct realities Jesus spoke concerning His disciples—that which He foretold concerning Judas who would betray Him, and that which He foretold concerning the disciples themselves who would all forsake Him. If you continue reading within this chapter you will come to the final six verses of the chapter, and it is within these six verses where we find the fulfillment of that which Jesus spoke concerning Simon also called Peter and his denial of Jesus. It’s absolutely amazing to consider the fact that Simon Peter declared unto Jesus before all the other disciples that he would never be offended by Him, and that even if He died with Jesus, yet would He never deny Him. Please don’t miss the significance and importance of what is taking place within this chapter, for within this chapter we find Jesus foretelling the actions of two of His disciples individually, as well as the actions of the disciples collectively. It would be Simon Peter who would deny Jesus not once, not twice, but three times, and it would be Judas who would betray Jesus into the hands of the chief priests, scribes and elders of Israel. Consider if you will that which is written and recorded in this chapter concerning Simon also called Peter beginning with the sixty-ninth verse:

“Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also was with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou safest. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:69-75).

By the time we come to the end of this particular chapter we find the final fulfillment of that which was foretold concerning the disciples of Jesus, for the final fulfillment concerned Simon called Peter directly and individually. I have to admit that as I read this chapter, and as I read concerning the betrayal of Jesus in the garden, as well as the trial by night before Caiaphas and all those who were assembled together, I can’t help but see how the lives of two men were intrinsically linked to the suffering of Jesus Christ. On the one hand we find the life of Judas being directly linked and connected to Jesus, as it was Judas who would be responsible for betraying Jesus into the hands of the chief priests, scribes and elders. On the other hand we find the life of Simon called Peter being linked to the suffering of Jesus, for Simon who was also called Peter would deny Jesus three different times. I have previously written concerning this particular event within the lives of Jesus and Simon Peter, and how as much as we find within this chapter the trial of Jesus Christ before the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of Israel, and ultimately before Pontius Pilate, we also find the trial of the apostle Peter. There is not a doubt in my mind that when we read the words contained within this chapter we of course read of the trial of Jesus Christ before the chief priests, the scribes, the elders, as well as all those who sought to bring false witness and false accusation against Him, but we also read of the trial of the apostle Peter—a trial of denial and a trial that tested His loyalty, his fidelity, and His relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. There is not a doubt in my mind that within this passage of Scripture we not only find Jesus standing trial before the religious system and community of that time, but we also find Simon called Peter standing trial before a damsel, before a maid, and before a number of those who stood but watching and waiting to see what would come as a result of Jesus standing trial before the religious community and system of that day. How incredibly interesting and intriguing it is to consider the fact that at the same time Jesus stood trial before the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel, Simon called Peter also stood trial behind the scenes, as he stood trial based on his knowledge of and relationship with Jesus the Christ. This same one who had professed that Jesus was the Christ the Son of the living God, this same one who had walked on the water in the midst of the storms, and this same one who would declare unto Jesus that even though all would be offended, yet would He not be offended, nor would he deny Him, would be the same one who would find himself standing trial with Jesus. Jesus’ trial would be centered upon false accusation and false witness, while the trial of Simon Peter was one that centered upon relationship, and His knowledge of Jesus the Christ.

We would be incredibly wise to recognize and understand that which is found in this particular passage of Scripture, for it flies directly on the heels of a conversation Jesus had with Simon called Peter, for Jesus would declare unto Simon Peter that Satan desired to have him in order that he might sift him as wheat. It’s worth noting that at the same time Jesus declared unto Simon that Satan desired to have him that he might sift him as wheat, He also declared unto him that his faith would fail not, and when he was restored, he would strengthen and encourage his brethren. When I read this passage of Scripture I can’t help but be confronted with two distinct trials which took place—on the surface the trial of Jesus Christ before the religious community and system of that die, and behind the scenes the trial of Simon Peter who experienced a different type of trial. Within this passage of Scripture we not only encounter what happens when Jesus is put on trial—even when we ourselves put Jesus on trial—but also when we ourselves are put on trial. As we read this passage of Scripture we dare not miss or lose sight of the significance that there are two distinct and two different trials which took place on this same night, for not only did Jesus stand trial before His accusers and adversaries, but so also did Peter stand trial before those who did not accuse him, but those who spoke of his knowing and being familiar with Jesus the Christ. Within this passage of Scripture we are not only confronted with the trial of Jesus before those who wished to wrongly and falsely accuse Him, but we also find within this chapter the trial of Simon and his relationship with Jesus the Christ. What’s more, is that as surely as Jesus would stand on trial based on false accusations and false witness by those who opposed Him, but we also find Simon standing trial in his own way—in all reality a trial of denial and a trial of relationship, as he would be confronted three times whether or not he knew Jesus Christ. It’s not enough to read this chapter and find Jesus standing on trial before those who would accuse and condemn him, but we must also read this chapter and see ourselves standing trial, as we face a trial of knowing Jesus the Christ and having a relationship with Him. Perhaps the single greatest question we must ask ourselves when reading the words which are contained within this passage of Scripture is not only what we will put Jesus on trial for, and what we will accuse Jesus of, but also what we ourselves will stand and be put on trial for. Simon Peter experienced firsthand the trial of denial and the trial of relationship, as he would be confronted with whether or not he knew Jesus the Christ, and whether or not he did in fact have relationship with him. Oh that we would read this passage of Scripture and see and find ourselves in it—not only concerning what we ourselves might put Jesus on trial for, and what we might find reason to accuse Jesus of, but also our own trial which we would face and experience. We dare not overlook the fact that on the same night Jesus stood on trial before those who would accuse and condemn Him, so also would Simon stand on trial, and so also would Simon’s faith be put on trial in order that he might be tested. Oh that we would read the words found and contained within this passage of Scripture, and that we would be brought face to face with the reality of how we will fare when we ourselves stand trial, and we ourselves find our faith tried and tested.

As I sit here this morning I can’t help but be absolutely drawn to the fact that on the same night in which Jesus was betrayed by one of His own, and on the same night He stood trial before His accusers and those who wished to condemn Him, Simon also called Peter faced his own trial behind the scenes and in the background. There is not a doubt in my mind that when Simon entered into this particular evening he had any idea that he would himself stand trial before those who didn’t necessarily accuse him of wrongdoing, but confronted him about his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Not once, not twice, but three times Simon Peter was faced with an incredible decision whether or not he was going to own his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, or whether he would deny knowing and having any sort of relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. There is not a doubt in my mind that when we read this particular passage of Scripture we are confronted with the various trials we ourselves face, and how we will handle it if we find ourselves in a similar place and position. Perhaps one of the most relevant questions we must ask ourselves is what we will do and how we will respond if we are confronted with our knowledge of and relationship with Jesus Christ, and whether or not we will stand fast to our commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, or whether we will deny knowledge of and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s so incredible about this particular passage is that not only did was the apostle Peter forewarned and foretold of his denial of the Lord Jesus Christ, but Jesus also spoke to him concerning Satan’s desire to have him that he might sift him as wheat. What I so love about the words which Jesus spoke unto Simon is that even though Satan desired to have Peter, and even though Satan would sift Peter, Jesus prayed for him that his faith would not fail, and that when he was restored he would strengthen his brethren. Even though on the very same night Jesus stood trial before his accusers, and even though Simon Peter faced his own trial before those who spoke of his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord prayed for him that his faith would not fail and that once he was restored, he would strengthen his brethren in their own faith, in their own conflict, and in their own struggle. I would leave you with the words which the apostle Peter himself wrote in the first chapter of the first epistle which he wrote onto those who would be scattered as a result of persecution:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fade the not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise an honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye seem him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:3-12).

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