Peter knew well what it means that Jesus suffered. Peter witnessed the sufferings of Christ and he knew that Jesus’ suffering was redemptive. You can read more about his teaching on suffering in his epistles, of course. Peter also knew that our suffering as Christians is connected to Christ’s suffering: “But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Pet. 4:13 NIV). Edmund Clowney gave a helpful insight into the relationship of Christ’s suffering and the Christian’s suffering:
Peter is a witness of Christ’s sufferings (5:1). He testifies not only to the events of Gethsemane and Calvary, but also to their meaning. Christ, the righteous one, suffered for us, the unrighteous, to bring us to God (3:18). The fact that the righteous suffer is the enigma posed in the book of Job and in many Psalms. Peter answers the question just as the Old Testament does. God is sovereign; we suffer according to the will of God (4:19). But God’s will for our suffering must now be understood in the light of God’s will for Christ’s suffering. Only Christ is truly righteous, yet he suffered for our sins. The key to the mystery of the suffering of the righteous is the mystery of the suffering of Christ. The prophets testified of his suffering and of the glory to follow (1:11). In the wonder of God’s design, it was his purpose that Christ should suffer for us, and by his suffering save us. Knowing his suffering for us, we may rejoice when God wills that we should suffer for him. We cannot add to his atoning sufferings, for he bore our sins in his own body on the tree (2:24). Christ suffered for sins ‘once’ (3:18). Yet when we suffer as Christians there is a sense in which we share in the sufferings of Christ. Made righteous by him, we suffer as the righteous with him.
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