“Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the suffering of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to your through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.” (1 Peter 1:10-12)
Peter begins his letter about suffering well by reminding suffering Christians of the wonderful blessings they have. Keeping the eternal reward at the forefront of our mind will help put the temporary suffering in perspective. Chief among these blessings is the salvation of our soul (1:9). But Peter is not content to merely mention salvation and move on. He wants disciples to realize how long this plan of salvation has been in the works and how many beings have longed to know the full gospel story. 1 Peter 1:10-12 won’t allow us to take God’s plan of salvation for granted.
The Old Testament prophets foretold of the grace and salvation Christians receive through Christ. But while those prophets predicted certain elements of Christ’s work, death, and glory, they only had inklings of what has now been fully revealed to you and me in the New Testament! The gospel that you and I have received in the New Testament is the culmination of centuries of prophecy. Sometimes we envy the ancient Israelites who witnessed miracles and personally knew the great prophets. But Peter says it’s the other way around—the prophets would have loved to know what you and I do about God’s plan. And if that’s not exciting enough for you, Peter tells us that angels have longed to look into these things. We shouldn’t envy what angels have seen and known because they envy what we know!
Peter is telling disciples not take the gospel story for granted. We are recipients of a plan, message, and story that has been unfolding for thousands of years. We are characters in a great story of redemption and the characters from the earlier chapters desperately wished to know how it would end. We are recipients of blessings that God has been working out over thousands of years. That means when we open our Bibles to read and study them, we don’t do it to make a list of “no no’s,” to fill time in a Bible class, or to merely get fodder for religious debates. When we open our Bibles, we enter into God’s story and find our place in it.
We maintain hope, excitement, and zeal in difficult times by looking beyond the current grievance toward the epic story of what God is doing in human history. The prophets and angels would have loved to know what you and I do!