Tuesday

10 November 2015

“It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought the good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven – things into which angels long to look!” (v. 12)

Psalm: Psalm 119:161-176


  Background

Verses 10 to 12 are not the most elegantly written of verses. However, the main point seems to be that the salvation which the recipients of the letter have received was prophesied through the inspiration of the Spirit of Christ. Peter does not tell us who these prophets were but he probably had the Servant Song of Isaiah 53 in mind as he wrote of the prophet's prediction of Christ's suffering and his subsequent glory. He also later quotes from this passage (1 Peter 2:19-25). Peter seems to make a clear link here between the experience of suffering and future glory.

The prophets that Peter wrote of were no longer living, but he tells us that they knew they were serving generations to come in the form of the original readers of this letter, ourselves today and all who have responded to the gospel in between times; a truly inspiring idea. Peter highlights the great treasure of this good news of salvation by telling us that the angels long to look into these things. Perhaps we can picture an image of angels craning their necks in order to see what wonderful things God is doing.

Verses 13-16 start with the word "therefore" and there follows a call to holy living. This holy living should be motivated "therefore" because of this "living hope"(v. 3) of an "imperishable inheritance" (v. 4) in which we have "indescribable joy" (v. 8) which was "testified in advance" (v. 11) by the prophets and has the angels craning their necks to look at it (v. 12).

And this holiness is achieved by 'preparing your minds' (v. 13), disciplining ourselves and not conforming to our desires. But perhaps the greatest motivation to holy living are the words: "You shall be holy, for I am holy" (v. 16). This phrase appears several times in the book of Leviticus (eg Leviticus 11:44-45) but in particular in chapters 17 to 26; a section referred to as the Holiness Code; writings that contain a code of conduct, not just for priests but for everyone in Israel.


To Ponder

  • What would it mean for you to serve generations as yet unknown?
  • Are all desires wrong and to be disciplined against? Why?


Bible notes author:  The Revd Jonathan Mead

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