1 Peter 1:11
Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify…
Peter did, indeed, in the course of his Master's ministry, see something of Christ's proper and Divine glory. He was with him on the Mount of Transfiguration, and bore testimony to what he there saw and heard of the majesty of the Son of man. But Peter had disapproved of Christ's humiliation and sufferings. When Jesus foretold the ignominy and woe that were awaiting him, he exclaimed, "That be far from thee!" And when the hour of suffering came, Peter drew his sword to defend his Master. Yet, immediately after the Lord's ascension, Peter, enlightened by the Spirit, proceeded to preach that Christ's sufferings were a fulfillment of Old Testament predictions, and a condition of the participation by mankind in spiritual blessings. And in this Epistle he taught that the sufferings of Christ and the glory alike were necessary parts of the Divine plan of redemption.
I. THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST. It was involved in Christ's taking our nature that he should suffer; as Son of man he accepted the human lot. But there were pains and griefs peculiar to himself; he was the "Man of sorrows."
1. His mental sufferings. These were many and sore, and only partially comprehensible by us. They arose from the contact of the Holy One with sin and sinners; the misunderstanding of his character and mission even by his own beloved and trained disciples; his rejection by his countrymen, who should have been foremost in welcoming him. They arose from the unique burden which he bore for us, the unique sacrifice which with tears and blood he presented as our High Priest.
2. His bodily sufferings. Jesus shared throughout his humiliation the sinless infirmities of those whose lot he accepted with the view of securing their salvation. But the reference in this and similar passages is unquestionably to those pathetic and awful experiences which our Savior deigned to undergo during the last hours of his life, when his form was bruised and pierced, when his blood was shed for us.
3. The moral aspects of Christ's sufferings. He endured them, in expression and proof of his obedience to the Father; in the maintenance of his hostile attitude towards sin; in compassion to the human race he came to save; in achieving the redemption which it was his aim and mission to effect. The humiliation, the cross of our Savior, were endured for the highest purpose; they give no countenance to the ascetic notion that pain is in itself a good; but they show us how it may he the means, under the moral government of God, of good of the very highest order.
II. THE GLORY OF CHRIST FOLLOWING UPON HIS SUFFERINGS.
1. This glory was partly personal to our Lord himself. So viewed, the reference is to his resurrection and ascension. The glory which he had before the world was, by the events which swiftly followed the Crucifixion was enhanced.
2. Glory accrued to Jesus in the establishment of his Church. The Holy Spirit descended, and the signs which accompanied the Word were the incidents of a triumphal progress. The Conqueror, the King, appeared, and a kingdom was set up excelling in majesty and splendor all the powers of the world, and even the empire itself.
3. The world itself became the scene of the Savior's glory. A new moral principle was introduced into our humanity; it was seen that weakness and suffering might lead to moral dominion. The very conception of glory itself was glorified through the cross. Spiritual glory was shown to excel all beside.
III. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS AND GLORY.
1. It was a connection predicted in Old Testament Scripture, e.g. in passages in Isaiah and in Daniel.
2. It was a connection foreseen and expected by Christ himself. It is noticeable that, in announcing beforehand the events about to happen to himself, Jesus associated his crucifixion and resurrection as parts of one purposed whole.
3. Though the sufferings and the glory were in striking contrast, the i0rmer were the means to which the latter was the end. The one made the other possible, and indeed brought it about. The crown of thorns blossomed into a crown of empire and of majesty - J.R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.