“searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1 Peter 1:11).
1 Peter 1:11 continues an exposition concerning the Old Testament prophets and their struggle to understand their messages concerning God’s Messiah. This passage thus presents a useful application: if these Old Testament prophets did not fully comprehend the meaning of the things God spoke through them, we should not be surprised if we struggle to fully comprehend God’s purpose behind our life experiences as well.
Nevertheless, we can say that there are definite reasons behind the events that God allows to enter our lives, even if we fail to grasp His motive behind them. We can turn to several examples from our current age of technology to better appreciate this truth. For instance, let’s take the example of an automobile, a piece of software, or a complex electronic device that has performed consistently and reliably.
One does not need to have a comprehensive understanding of these advancements in order to place his or her trust in them. If we can place such faith in these imperfect technologies, we should have a greater degree of faith in the all-powerful God of the Scriptures, even when we don’t have a comprehensive understanding of His motives.
We should also consider this reference to “the sufferings of Christ” here in 1 Peter 1:11. There were many within the Jewish community of Jesus’ era who looked forward to the arrival of a conquering Savior who would liberate Israel from the oppressive Roman government. Since the Messiah was viewed as a person of strength and power, those who expected Jesus to be an all-conquering deliverer were sure to be disillusioned by His crucifixion and death.
Thus, the problem was not with God’s plan: the problem involved their perception of that plan. One oft-quoted way to illustrate that misperception is to visualize two mountain peaks. One peak represents the suffering endured by the Messiah for our sakes; the other represents His triumphant reign. It is only within our present age (as represented by the valley that lies between those peaks) that we can see these aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry with clarity.
Finally, one source highlights an intriguing observation regarding Peter, the human author of this passage…
“He [Peter], who wanted to hear nothing of it [Christ’s sufferings] during the lifetime of Jesus, made Jesus’ suffering and death the very centre of his explanation of Jesus’ earthly work.” (1)
(1) Cullman, Oscar. The Christology of the New Testament [p. 74] quoted in Constable, Thomas. DD. “Notes on 1 Peter 2023 Edition” (1:10-11) Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable. https://planobiblechapel.org/tcon/notes/pdf/1peter.pdf