Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you. 1 Peter 4:12
Shortly after the book of Romans was written, false charges were brought against Paul by people in Caesarea who wanted to stop him from preaching.
Paul was a Roman citizen and every citizen had the right, if he was accused of an offense, to a trial in Rome. Realizing that he had little hope of a fair trial in Caesarea, Paul appealed to Caesar, and Festus, the local governor, said “To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go” (Acts 25:11-12).
On his way to Rome, Paul’s ship was caught in a storm and wrecked. He eventually arrived in Rome in the year AD 60, and the book of Acts ends by telling us that Paul stayed there under house arrest for two years (AD 60 and 61), after which it appears he was released.
Two years later, the apostle Peter was in Rome (AD 63), and while he was there he wrote his first letter. Moved by the Holy Spirit, Peter said, “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you” (1 Peter 4:12). Rome was set on fire in AD 64.
The historian Tacitus records that ten of the 14 precincts in the city were damaged. “Three were utterly destroyed and in the other seven there remained only a few mangled and half burnt traces of houses… At the very time that Rome burned, he [Nero] mounted his private stage and sang.” This is where we get the phrase “fiddling while Rome burns.”
It was widely rumored that Nero himself had started the fire and that he had done this to create the opportunity of building a greater and grander city. Nero needed to find a scapegoat and he blamed the fire on the Christians.
Have you been surprised by a fiery trial in the past year or two?