Selfless Saints

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 sufferings 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 you 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 ESV)

For the past week we have seen the faith of Old Testament saints. Hebrews 11 lists them and their accomplishments–all a result of great faith in God. Peter adds additional insight into the plight of these Old Testament prophets. Don’t miss this–you will be surprised that you were on their minds. They prophesied about the grace that was to be yours. They knew a better day was coming–they just didn’t know when.

They wanted to know who the Messiah would be and what time He would come. God did not reveal that to them. God did reveal to them what kind of Messiah he would be, so that when he appeared, New Testament saints would know it. In other words, they lived not for themselves or their own satisfaction, but for the fulfillment and satisfaction of a future generation. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you. While Peter was certainly writing to persecuted Christians spread throughout the greater Middle East in his day, his words are just as applicable to us today.

Consider Isaiah.

  • In Isaiah 52:13 Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would be raised, lifted up, and exalted. In Philippians 2:9-11, Paul writes that God exalted him and that one day every knee will bow.
  • In 52:14 Isaiah said that Jesus appearance was “marred beyond human semblance.” Matthew 26:67 records the merciless beating of Jesus.
  • In 53:3 Isaiah describes him as a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. John confirms Isaiah’s prophecies in John 11 by describing how many rejected Jesus, especially the religious leaders.
  • In 53:9 Isaiah predicted his grave would be with the wicked and the rich. He was crucified between two thieves and buried in wealthy Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb.

God revealed “clues” about the Messiah to the prophets, not for their benefit, but for yours. They faithfully wrote down what God told them and you benefit from it today. Their faithfulness builds your faith. How remarkable is this? So phenomenal that angels long to look into these things!

What should this encourage you to do?

Read the Old Testament with gratitude for imperfect saints who put their faith in a gracious God.

Ask yourself: what are you doing today that does not serve yourself, but others; that does not build your faith but someone else’s; that does not help your cause, but another’s.