1 Peter 1:10-12
Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come to you:…
I. The prophets as examples to us in the STUDY of salvation.
1. The intensity of their study. The word here translated "searched" is used by classic authors to describe hounds scouring the country to discover their prey. We read the Bible more from idle frivolous curiosity than from a sincere deep-rooted wish to catch a view of the blessed Messiah moving in Divine stateliness through its histories and doctrines. Another striking similitude is suggested — that of anxious miners excavating for gold. Two young men catch the gold fever; despite the tearful entreaties of parents, they resolve to emigrate to Australia. The first morning after their arrival they rise earlier and with less difficulty than they ever did at home, shoulder their tools, and start eagerly for the much-coveted quarries. They dig, loosen a portion of the rock, pick up the stones. Observe how carefully they examine them to see if there be perceptible a slight golden tinge, just enough to feed hope; and if they discover a grain or two of gold, how the discovery cheers their hearts, nerves their arms, and transfigures their countenances! Similarly the holy men of the Jewish Church dug into the fields of Divine revelation, scanned verse after verse, dissected the sacrifices and analysed the prophecies, in order to possess a few grains of truth, a little refined gold.
2. The subject of their study — salvation. Not "after which salvation," but "of which, concerning which." This is one difference between heathen philosophers and Jewish prophets: the former inquired after salvation without finding it, whereas the latter possessed salvation to start with, and possessing it they had no need to search after it, but concerning it and into it. And our first concern should be to possess salvation, to be in a state of personal safety through faith in the Redeemer. Then we may at our leisure institute investigations concerning it and into it.
3. The noble spirit of resignation they evinced in presence of intellectual difficulties which they were not able to surmount. They inquired diligently; but they understood but little.
II. The apostles as examples to us in the PROCLAMATION of the gospel.
1. The subject matter of their ministry. "The things now reported unto you" — what things? "The sufferings of Christ and the glory which should follow." These are the only things worthy of a Christian pulpit.
2. The manner of their preaching. "The things reported." The things invented, devised, imagined? Oh no; the apostles were not inventors, but reporters; not poets, but historians; not philosophers, but witnesses. They were simply reporters, narrating, each one in his own way, the memorable events of that wonderful biography. And do they not furnish us with a much needed example?
3. The power which accompanied their preaching — "with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven." Just as much electricity exists latent in the air on a serene, tranquil day as on a day of tempest when thunders roar and lightnings flash. What, then, is the difference? Not in the amount of electricity, but in the fact that in certain conditions of the atmosphere the electricity flashes into visibility, the latent fire bursts forth into flame. Similarly the Holy Spirit is as truly present in the Church today as in seasons of remarkable revivals, now as in the days of Whitfield, Wesley, and Rowlands. What is wanted is — for the Spirit to make His presence felt, for the Divine electricity to flash forth into lightnings. Pray for His manifestation; and then the weakest preacher among the tribes will be as the house of David, and the house of David as the angel of God.
III. The angels an example to us in the WONDER AND ADORATION that should fill our minds in the contemplation of this salvation.
1. What are the things here referred to? The answer is obvious — the same things which the prophets predicted and the apostles proclaimed. The burden of the study as of the song of these celestial beings is — "the Lamb that was slain." And if redemption in its various phases receives the attention and homage of angels, is it not deserving of our devout and worshipful meditation?
2. Into these things the angels desire to look. The word, it is said, might be rendered a little differently "into which things the angels desire to look," to look askance, to look one side as it were over the shoulder. What, then, is the idea? That salvation fronts not the angels, who consequently have to stretch the neck and look aside, as it were round the corners, to catch a glimpse of its glory. But so enraptured are they with the beauty they behold that they strive to see more and more, crowding into the churches to learn what they may of the "manifold" — many-coloured — "wisdom of God." No; salvation does not front the angels, but it fairly and fully fronts the children of men. Shall we front it? What is our attitude towards it today? Have we our backs or our faces towards this salvation? His face is towards us; are our faces towards Him?
(J. C. Jones, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: