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The Unseen Author

1 Peter 1:10-12
Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. (NIV)

Peter is writing to encourage Christians in trouble. The danger of persecution and sense of isolation made them vulnerable; they might be tempted to abandon their faith. Peter has urged them to keep obeying Jesus, reminding them of their future inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-5) and their present joy as they experience Christ's love (1 Peter 1:8-9). Now he presents the Old Testament as a major encouragement for Christians. Of course, the prophets did not know Jesus, but as they wrote, the Spirit of Christ was within them - enabling them to write accurately about His death and resurrection.

Even when our confidence in the future is dimmed and our present experience is clouded by trouble, the Bible is always God's reliable Word to us. The prophets knew that they were writing about things outside of their human knowledge; and as hard as they tried, they could not work it out. But they knew that God was urging them to record His Word, which, later, would make a lot of sense to Christians like us. Their words serve not only to inform us about God's grace through Jesus, but also to reassure us that His suffering was no accident. It was all planned by God so that we might share His future glory. Even the angels were amazed as they saw the plan for our salvation unfold!

Many of the prophets saw suffering, but although they wrote about the fullness of God's glory, none of them saw it. Both they and us are waiting for Jesus to come back (Hebrews 11:39-40). In the meantime, there is no reason why we should be unconfident about God's salvation and love for us, because the Holy Spirit is still speaking the same message through gospel preachers. We now also have historical evidence that all God's plan for Jesus is true - and so we really can trust God's Word even when life is tough. And we can also be certain that the untidy suffering of faith will be followed by glory: the Bible shows us how the prophets predicted it, Jesus proved it and therefore we can be confident of sharing His glory one day (2 Thessalonians 2:13-15).

Dear Lord God. Thank You for giving me a greater privilege than the Old Testament prophets, who did not have the evidence of the death and resurrection of Jesus. As they trusted Your Word, help me to do the same. Even when life is hard and the future uncertain, I know that my obedient faith will be rewarded when Jesus comes again. So please help me to keep trusting and keep obeying today. For Your glory's sake. Amen
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© Dr Paul Adams