12 Dear friends, don’t be bewildered or surprised when you go through the fiery trials ahead, for this is no strange, unusual thing that is going to happen to you. 13 Instead, be really glad—because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterwards you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory in that coming day when it will be displayed.
14 Be happy if you are cursed and insulted for being a Christian, for when that happens the Spirit of God will come upon you with great glory. 15 Don’t let me hear of your suffering for murdering or stealing or making trouble or being a busybody and prying into other people’s affairs. 16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being in Christ’s family and being called by his wonderful name! 17 For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin first among God’s own children. And if even we who are Christians must be judged, what terrible fate awaits those who have never believed in the Lord? 18 If the righteous are barely saved, what chance will the godless have?
19 So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you.
Peter is coming back to a familiar theme: suffering. God’s people have and will suffer when those who are opposed to the Gospel oppose them. Jesus showed us what this was like; he also said that those who belong to him would also suffer as he suffered. We are to be assured however, that God remains in control, even of the suffering, and that judgment is coming. It is a judgement that begins in God’s house first. Here Peter is thinking of the church, local churches and also the church collectively. We should think of and remember Jesus who entered the temple in Jerusalem with a judgement against the house. In essence his judgement came like this: “This house is not what it was intended to be, in fact, far from it” He knew what he was talking about because it was his house! It is often painful to be told the truth and even more so to have someone else remove what does not belong; we dare not resist (Ps. Dale).
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell us about God, Jesus and people?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
- Who can you encourage with this story/message?
Stop and ask God to place a nation on your mind and heart. Pray for the people to be blessed by God, the church to shine brightly and for God to be present in that place.