Do you ever struggle with feeling like you don’t really matter? Maybe, someone forgot your birthday. Ever feel that you are never the first pick? Ever just feel that you get lost in the crowd? Ever feel neglected by a parent, friend, or spouse?
Ever feel insignificant? This certainly doesn’t help when the pastor can’t even remember your name. I remember one Sunday a man came down front and asked me to pray with him. I put my arm around him and prayed fervently, “Dear Lord, I pray for Simon. Help Simon to stay focused on you. Give Simon a heavenly perspective. May Simon..." Etc. "Amen.” As soon as I was done, Simon looked up and said, “Umm. My name is Wesley.”
Usually these feelings of unimportance, insignificant, and insecurity that plague us are accompanied by circumstances which contribute to those feelings, yet as believers we have good reason to ignore those feelings with the reality that we are a privileged people even in the midst of trials.
1 Peter 1:10–12 reveals part of our privileged status:
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 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.
Two interesting insights particularly stand out in this text.
1. Jesus wasn’t a new plan
“Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied… inquiring what person or time…. It was revealed to them…” (10a, 11a, 12a).
Early 2015, Ohio State won the college football national championship with their third-string quarterback. Their first two Heisman-caliber quarterbacks got hurt. So out of options, they put in Cardale Jones who happened to be amazing and rose to legendary status overnight. In the end, Ohio State was forced through circumstances to re-write a game plan that happened to work out. Not so with God.
God was not reacting to a problem. Jesus was God’s plan from the beginning. God knew that we would need help even before he created the world and yet, he created it anyway, providing redemption for a humanity that he knew would rebel.
Later, Peter would elaborate on this point writing, “He [Jesus] was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:20–21).
2. Jesus was revealed to them, but sent to us
“…prophesied about the grace that was to be yours…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…” (10b, 12a).
It is easy to look at the Old Testament prophets and think, “That must have been so cool to be them and live in that day.” Just think of Moses, Samuel, Elijah, and Daniel. Yet, while these men played the role God had for them, their hearts longed to see Jesus’ day and experience him the way you and I have the privilege of.
The prophets looked intently on “when” Jesus would appear and “when” they would be able to experience personally his incarnate presence, his redemptive grace, and his restorative peace, and yet, God did not answer their “when” question; rather, God showed them that their role in the history of redemption was to serve a future generation who would experience the manifested grace for which they themselves longed.
As these Old Testament prophets endured, they were shown a purpose in their endurance. God was using their circumstances to prepare the groundwork for you and I to be exposed to the faith and experience salvation in Jesus Christ so that we could experience a future glory as well. In their labors, they served us. They longed to have the same experience of intimacy with God through Christ that we get to have.
God, hundreds of years before we were born, used these renowned men of old to lay a framework whereby we would know that the testimony of Christ was true and would surrender our lives to Jesus.
This thought reveals something of the character of God. He loves his people and wants to see them reached with the good news that Jesus Christ is real and came to deliver them from the bondage of sin so that they could experience eternity with him.
In this text, we see how God used his present people to reach future people, of which we are a part.
Earlier, I mentioned feelings of insecurity and unimportance, feeling average and forgotten, but what we see is that despite whatever lies this world yells in our direction, God loves us and has provide us with a privileged position in Christ.
Circumstances may currently be tough, but they are temporary. On the other side of this life, a future glory awaits. Don’t forget that.
Also, as we think about how privileged we are, may we not forget all the saints who went before us to lay the groundwork for this amazing salvation that is offered in Jesus Christ, to say nothing of the angels who long to look into these things (12c). Out of this reflection, may we be motivated not to stand idle in our privileged status as blood-bought saints destined for glory, but may we be motived to faithfully and vocally endure so that others might come to experience a future glory with a gracious heavenly Father.