April is L-Plate month, where I’ve turned over this website to my students. They are studying an introductory preaching subject this semester, and writing for this website is part of their assessment, as well as a learning exercise for them. I’m hoping you’ll interact with them a bit via the comments function at the bottom of each post, offering some feedback. (Particularly, feedback that’s constructive or affirming – they’ve got me to deliver the negative stuff! Remember, some of them will never have preached before, and some have English as their second language.) They will then incorporate this feedback in a sermon they present in class at the end of semester.
We continue today in 1 Peter.
1 Peter 1:10-12 | Sheree Brugel
A cure for FoMo
There’s an illness that’s been running rampant for a few years now, you or someone you’re close to may have caught it at some stage. So I need to ask, do you or someone you know, suffer from FoMo (Fear of Missing Out)? The symptoms can be subtle; it may begin with a slight twitch in the thumb as the urge to unlock a mobile phone emerges. This can then progress to sleepless nights, headaches, paranoia and finally result in the compulsive need to check every social media site there is; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, BuzzFeed, Pintrest, you name it (reading this blog may even be a symptom). When finally the itch has been scratched a status update may appear; “Thanks everyone for sharing pictures of your lunch today. #sweetrelief”
When we read today’s passage, we find that we aren’t the only ones throughout history to suffer from FoMo. We’re looking at 1 Peter 1:10-12, just three small (and frankly rather confusing) verses, but there is so much we can learn from them!1 Pet 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 the Messiah 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.
In this letter Peter is sending encouragement to the persecuted church that has been scattered throughout Asia Miner (modern day Turkey and Greece). In the verses we looked at yesterday we heard of the hope and salvation that we have through Jesus, and the entirety of this letter points to the eschatological (that’s a fancy word for the unfolding story of God and humanity) hope we have and the Kingdom of God. In today’s verses we find further encouragement in knowing things that were a mystery to the prophets in the Old Testament, the things that angels long to see, have been revealed to us through Christ Jesus. The gospel message about Jesus has been revealed to us through the Holy Spirit and we don’t miss out on the secret of salvation, because through Christ we know what the prophets didn’t. Let me break it down a little….
Peter will continue to draw on Old Testament analogies throughout the rest of his letter, however this is the first time he mentions it directly. When he speaks about the prophets who had prophecies about the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow, he’s speaking about the messianic prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah… all of those guys who pointed to the life of Jesus that was to come. Most of the time, they had no idea who or even what they were speaking about, however when we read their writings now, with the knowledge of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we know exactly who they were speaking about, here’s an example:Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Now Isaiah had no idea who Jesus was when he wrote this, how could he? Isaiah wrote that about 700 years before Jesus was even born. But here Peter states that the prophets, such as Isaiah, were trying to find out what this all meant, they were suffering a bit from FoMo and looking for a cure. Sadly for them though, they did miss out on the full story, their prophecies were not fulfilled in their lifetime, because Christ had not yet entered the world. But, as Peter states, the prophets knew they weren’t serving themselves, they were serving us with their prophecies!
A few days ago I went to a café in North Ryde called “The Missing Piece” (great coffee if you ever visit), I work in Marketing so I always notice things like logos and branding. I noticed the café’s logo is of a whole heap of miss-placed puzzle pieces, and as the name suggests, one of the pieces is missing. It got me thinking, puzzles are kind of annoying when there is a piece missing, right? You go to all the time and effort meticulously placing all the pieces where they’re meant to go, and when you get to the end to discover it’s incomplete. Very frustrating!
The prophets had an incomplete puzzle; all the pieces hadn’t been created yet. But now, through the story of Jesus that’s been given to us through the gospel we have a few extra pieces of the puzzle. We have a clearer picture of God’s divine plan for salvation, we know how he’s restoring all of humanity to himself – and that’s through Jesus! There are still pieces being made as His eschatological story continues to unfold, but we have a much clearer picture than the prophets ever did. No wonder the angels were so curious and wanted to know as well, how amazing is it that we have been let in on the secret of salvation! Not only that, this secret has been revealed to us through the Holy Spirit!
Peter is assuring both those he originally wrote this letter to, and also us their ancestors, that we don’t need to suffer from FoMo like those who went before us; not like the angels and the prophets! We have found missing pieces to the puzzle, we know who Jesus is, the things that were once a mystery have now been revealed. The only thing we should have a fear of missing out on is a life separated from God; but if we accept the gift of salvation that has been given to us through Jesus, then there’s no need to fear!
To think about
What then should we do with this cure for FoMo? I think we should spread it, like the prophets did, like Peter did, this message is not one we should be keeping to ourselves! So the next opportunity you get to share the gospel message (the one that we’ve been given through the Holy Spirit) make sure you share it and let others in on the salvation secrets that have now been revealed to us. #secretsrevealed