“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.” (1 Peter 4:1)
Suffering for the sake of Christ became a large theme in the life of Peter, and for a very good reason. There was a time when Peter fled from suffering with Jesus, and for His cause, and kingdom.
Peter did not mean to protect himself in the hour of trial. In fact, he boasted that he would die for Jesus, even when the Lord informed him of his impending betrayal.
“Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. 34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.” (Matt. 26:33)
Poor, Peter. He thought he was braver than he was. He was putting too much trust in the flesh.
Follow, now, the footsteps of Peter from the feast of the Last Passover Supper with Jesus, through the Lord’s trails, and His crucifixion.
Peter was with Jesus in the
Garden of Gethsemane
36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
Peter was with Jesus when He was
Betrayed by Judas
47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.
48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.
Peter Tried to Honor His
Commitment to Christ
51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.
, 52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.
56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
Peter was with Jesus when
He was Arrested
57 And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
Peter was not with Jesus
in the Palace of the High Priests for Peter
Sitting with the Servants
58 But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.
59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;
60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,
61 And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.
62 And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? What is it which these witness against thee?
63 But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.
64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.
66 What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.
67 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,
68 Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?
Peter was not with Jesus
When the events inside the Palace took Place
Peter was Outside the Palace Denying Christ
The First Denial of Christ
69 Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.
70 But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.
The Second Denial of Christ
71 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.
72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.
The Third Denial of Peter
73 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.
74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.
75 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.
Peter Left Jesus in Custody in the Home of
Caiaphas the High Priest
The gospel narrative indicates that Peter was an eyewitness of many important events surrounding the arrest, trial, crucifixion, and burial of Jesus. However, there were also some critical events that Peter did not witness personally, and for a good reason. Peter did not want to suffer the same fate of Jesus. He did not want to be arrested, or crucified.
Therefore, Peter took actions to avoid identifying himself with Jesus. Peter denied the truth, and in so doing denied the Lord of Glory. Peter moved to protect himself with disinformation, and then by leaving the area where the trials of Jesus were taking place.
Why is this so important? It is important because Peter wanted to teach the church how to suffer for the sake of Jesus lest they do commit the same sin he had committed.
What sin did Peter commit? He denied the Lord of Glory. Peter refused to suffer in the flesh. There was a time when Peter did not have the mind of Christ. There was a time when Peter sinned in a specific way.
The good news is that Peter ceased from his sin. The time came when Peter confessed his sin of denying the Lord of Glory. Jesus forgave Peter, and restored him to fellowship, and to the work of the ministry.
Once Peter was reinstalled in the ministry he had to feed the sheep. That meant, in part, he had to prepare God’s people for persecution, and suffering. Peter would prepare the church for suffering by first showing them how to arm themselves, and second by giving them a good gospel motive for enduring suffering.
In preaching to the church, Peter would be preaching to himself, and cryptically giving an autobiographical statement. The way the church can arm herself to endure persecution and suffering is to have the same mind of Christ. “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.”
The mind of Christ was fixed. “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51)
The mind of Christ looked beyond the moment, to the eternal. “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” (Psalms 2:8) “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matt. 28:18)
The mind of Christ endured the cross for the joy that was set before him. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2)
What is to motivate the Christian to endure suffering? One gospel motive is that we shall not sin, in the singular, in this specific area. We shall not deny Christ.
Why should that, in and itself, bring so much joy? The Biblical answer is this, “Because of the gospel promise associated with it!”
Listen to Jesus as He promised: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 10:32)
You want to talk about motive? You want to talk about what is of eternal value? Then, arm yourself with the mind of Christ in the matter of suffering, and shout, “Halleluiah!” Christ will honor those who honor him.
When a gospel message is taught, it needs a proper messenger. The question arises, “Is Peter the proper messenger to be talking about enduring suffering?” “Peter, did you not once protect yourself from suffering with Jesus, in His greatest hour of need?”
The honest answer would be, “Yes.” Peter did sin. He did deny Jesus. But, then came repentance, restoration to fellowship, and renewal in the Holy Spirit. Peter learned to suffer for Jesus.
At the time of writing his epistle to the saints, c. AD 65, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, he had suffered much for Christ, including imprisonment (Acts 12:3-19)
Peter had earned the right to speak. He was a man with a message, because he had lived the message. He had ceased from sin. He had stopped denying Jesus, and started confessing Him before the world.
There is one loose end to tie up concerning this narrative. If Peter was not a witness to the sufferings of Christ, how was he so familiar with them? How do we know about what happened inside the house of Caiaphas?
There are several ways that what happened to Jesus can be believed.
Divine revelation. God was watching over His Son. Under divine inspiration He could have revealed what was done. However, more likely, God used natural means to record the events that took place, including eyewitnesses. Luke makes this point in his gospel.
“Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, 2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word.” (Luke 1:1-2)
So, who were the eyewitness?
Members of the Sanhedrin who were converts to Christ, and who were probably present, such as Nicodemus, would have shared what they witnessed.
Household servants might have given an oral report. Many people were waiting to hear about the midnight proceeding taking place. Jesus was too well known. The news of His arrest would spread like a wildfire. There are cities that never sleep, such as New York, and Jerusalem.
John Mark would have been able to give an account of what was happening to Jesus, if he is the disciple referred to in John 18:15 “And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.”
Peter was invited into the house of the high priest, and he almost went (John 18:16-18), but then he backed away “and warmed himself” by a fire.
Later, he did not back away. Later, Peter ceased from sin.