“To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven; things which angels desire to look into.” 1 Peter 1:12
“Things which angels desire to look into.” What is it that the angels study? Have you ever asked yourself that question? What subjects do they desire look into? I would have thought that they would set their minds on things above, on heavenly things. Wouldn’t you? Surely the things that angels think about would surpass the things that we have to think about in our daily, earthly, human lives.
However, when I read what Peter has written I find that the things that angels think about, study, look into are the things that I ought to be thinking about in my everyday christian life here on earth.
So, what subjects do the angels study? We’re told in the preceding verse. They study “the sufferings of Christ,” and they look into “the glories that would follow.” In other words, more than anything else, the angels desire to study that path where sacrificial ministry led to spiritual joy. Does that seem strange to you? Does that seem like a subject that is beneath these heavenly beings? If so, then you have surely forgotten what angels really are. The writer of Hebrews says of angels, that they are “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation…” Peter knew that.
So, since they are ministering spirits, why wouldn’t they study ministry? And if they are going to study ministry, then why wouldn’t they study the ministry of the One who became the servant of all? It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? In our lives we most often study the things that are most closely associated with our nature. The poet naturally studies poetry. The artist spends her time studying the elements of art. A businessman gives himself to fully understanding the intricacies and subtleties of business. So, if the angel was created to be a minister, then it follows that he would wish to study the greatest of all ministers.
That’s why it’s so easy for me to imagine those angels leaning over the balcony of heaven and gazing on the straight gate and the narrow way that led the Son of Man all the way to Golgotha. You say, “But there was sorrow there.” That’s right. “But there can’t be any sorrow in heaven.” That’s right as well, but don’t forget that the very thing that caused sorrow on earth has been turned into joy in heaven.
You see, the reason why the selfish heart can’t find any fulfillment or joy in studying ministry is because it is just that – a selfish heart. But let a transformation take place. Let that heart be changed from a selfish heart to a servant’s heart. Let it be illumined with the light of love. Let it be lifted up into those heavenly heights and it is that very study which will become its glory.
Do you want to be prepared to think on the theme which the angels ponder? Then answer for yourself this question: “If this very night I were to be in heaven, would I be filled with joy?” Do you have a heart that is filled with such love and concern for others that you would be delighted to spend eternity studying how to care for them? Or does the thought of giving so much time to thinking on the problems and concerns of others seem a sort of cruel and unusual punishment to you? If you do not care for the condition of others, then heaven won’t really be heaven for you. There would be nothing but pain for you in that place of perpetual ministry.
Heaven isn’t to be a home for the selfish. There’s no way that such a heart could ever call it home. So, if you want to feel at home in heaven, then make your course of study that which the angels look into. Study the cares and concerns of those around you. Study how to meet the needs of their heart and life. Study the One who became the servant of all. But most of all, look into the greatest, highest, most selfless lesson of real ministry ever taught – the glory of the cross.