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God’s Word for You

1 Peter 1:10-11 the sufferings of Christ

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, February 22, 2022

10 The prophets, who prophesied about the grace that has come to you, searched and studied carefully concerning this salvation, 11 trying to find out what person and what time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.

Peter is talking about the Old Testament prophets, especially those from Moses onward who wrote down their prophecies and who studied one another’s writings. In some cases, they lived at the same time. When Micah said, “I will weep and wail, I will go about barefoot and naked” (Micah 1:8), was he expanding on Isaiah 14:31, “Wail, O gate, howl, O city” or on Isaiah 15:3, “They all wail, prostrate and weeping,” or was Isaiah responding to what Micah had written? In most cases, it’s clear that later prophets quoted from earlier ones. Joel quotes Moses (Joel 3:17; Leviticus 19:2), and Hosea and Amos quote from Joel (Joel 3:16; cp. Hosea 10:11; Amos 1:2 and 3:4). Daniel finds comfort (Daniel 9:2) in Jeremiah’s prophecy that the exile will end after seventy years (Jeremiah 25:12, 29:10).

Peter explains that they were especially concerned with the time of the Savior’s arrival. When would the Savior finally appear, and who would the Christ be? This is what he means when he says “what person” and “what time.”

Here we notice that the prophets were concerned with the actual content of the prophecies: they accepted the words of the prophets (that is, one another), as the inspired word of God. No one in the Bible quotes Hammurabi as being of any significance, even though some of his law code is quite similar to the law given to Moses on Mount Sinai. Why? Hammurabi was not inspired; Moses was. In a few rare New Testament cases, a well-read author will quote from a pagan to make a point (such as Paul quoting Epimenides in Titus 1:12, and other playwrights in Acts 17:28 and 1 Corinthians 15:33), but in each of these cases he quotes under inspiration; he does not claim that they were writing under inspiration. These are trifles and not worthy of deep concern. It’s better to remember the words of the Holy Spirit: “Watch your doctrine closely” (1 Timothy 4:16), and Jesus’ warnings: “Diligently study the Scriptures” (John 5:39) and “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures” (Matthew 22:29). It is the Holy Bible, the Word of God, that we teach to one another (Joshua 8:35) and learn for ourselves (Psalm 1:2). We truly want to search and study carefully concerning our salvation. Unlike the prophets, we know the identity of the Christ, and we know precisely when he came. These things we confess so simply in the creed: “I believe in Jesus Christ” and “Suffered under Pontius Pilate.” The identity of the Son of God and the time of his suffering are declared publicly, week after week, and privately, day after day. But to this we add the glorious truth of the results of our salvation, and all of the blessings that follow.

Peter especially mentions “the sufferings of Christ.” I won’t pretend to have a perfect list of all of our dear Lord’s sufferings, but surely his suffering is shown in these ways among many others:

  • Knowing he would be betrayed (Matthew 26:21; Mark 14:18; Luke 22:21; John 13:21)
  • Knowing that the disciples would desert him (Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27)
  • Knowing that Peter would deny him three times (Matthew 26:34; Mark 14:30; Luke 22:34; John 13:38)
  • His soul, in Gethsemane, “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” even before he began to pray (Matthew 26:38; Mark 14:34)
  • His first prayer that the cup of his suffering might be taken away, if it was the Father’s will (Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36)
  • His second prayer, that if it was his Father’s will for him to drink the cup, that God’s will would be done (Matthew 26:42)
  • His third prayer, praying the same thing (Matthew 26:44)
  • Being betrayed by Judas with a kiss of friendship (Matthew 26:49; Mark 14:45)
  • His resolve to drink the cup of suffering even while Peter cut off the ear of Malchus (John 18:10-11)
  • His disciples deserted him (Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50)
  • The youth who fled naked (Mark 14:52), abandoning his robe to get away from Jesus, in contrast to Bartimaeus who had thrown aside his robe just to get to Jesus (Mark 10:50)
  • The false charges leveled against him before the Sanhedrin (Mark 14:56)
  • Struck by an official of the High Priest (John 18:22)
  • That the Son of God would be accused of blasphemy (Matthew 26:65)
  • The Sanhedrin spit in his face (Matthew 26:67)
  • The Sanhedrin blindfolded him to mock him (Mark 14:65)
  • The Sanhedrin struck him with their fists (Mark 14:65)
  • The Sanhedrin slapped him and mocked him (Matthew 26:28)
  • Peter disowned him three times (Matthew 26:69-74)
  • He was sentenced to death (Matthew 27:1)
  • He was bound (Matthew 27:2)
  • He was handed over to Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:2)
  • The people ask for a murderer to be released rather than Jesus (Mark 15:7,11)
  • Pilate had Jesus flogged (John 19:1)
  • The soldiers impaled his head with a crown of twisted thorn branches (John 19:2)
  • The soldiers mocked him (John 19:3)
  • The soldiers beat him and struck him (John 19:3)
  • The people ask for Jesus to be crucified (Matthew 27:22) even though Pilate judged him to be innocent three times (John 18:39, 19:4,6).
  • The Jews rejected God altogether by saying, “We have no king but Caesar (John 19:15)
  • The soldiers forced him to carry his own cross through the streets to a hill outside the city (Matthew 27:32)
  • They crucified him, nailing him by the hands and feet to a wooden cross, leaving him suspended on it until he died (John 19:18)
  • The soldiers made fun of him as he died (Luke 23:36)
  • People who passed by made fun of him as he died (Mark 15:29)
  • The chief priests of Israel made fun of him as he died (Mark 15:31)
  • The men crucified with him mocked him as well (Mark 15:32)
  • He became very thirsty as he died (John 19:28)
  • He died (Matthew 27:50; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30)

I have briefly noticed these things; of course there were more, many more. I did not mention that from the time of the Passover until his death, two days had passed without Jesus getting any sleep, but he suffered agony and torture most of the time. His spiritual suffering was greater than his physical suffering, and the physical agony was such that Pilate was “surprised that he was already dead” after just six hours on the cross (Mark 15:44). The things that Isaiah wrote (Isaiah 53:3-12) and David as well (especially Psalm 31:5-13) prefigure the sufferings of Jesus on our behalf.

It is not the severity or the intensity or even the brutality of the Lord’s sufferings that amazes us. It is that “He bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). Even me.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


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