Elizabeth was on her way to coffee in her Upper West Side neighborhood in New York City. She spotted it among the garbage bags set out for the morning collection. It was a canvas with red, purple, yellow, and grey. She walked past it at first.
But she would later tell that she just felt that she had to go back. It was a huge, powerful and beautiful painting. She believed it was wrong for it to be in the garbage, so she rescued it.
She hung the painting in her home. She appreciated it; it was not trash to her. But she was also curious. She did research on the Internet which led her to the truth. The painting was “Tres Personajes” by Mexican artist, Rufino Tamayo. It was a masterpiece stolen from a storage warehouse about decade and a half prior to Elizabeth finding it in the trash. Elizabeth returned the painting and was rewarded. The painting was expected to sell for a million dollars.
To someone it was trash. To Elizabeth it was a beautiful painting to hang on the wall. To the art experts at Southeby’s it was a very valuable piece of art. Sometimes it helps us to see something through another’s eyes. I suspect that is part of what Peter is doing in the following passage.
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 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. (1 Peter 1:10–12 ESV)
The prophets searched and carefully inquired. They knew that what lay ahead was valuable, but it was not for their generation. Christ’s sufferings and subsequent glories are for those of us on this side of the cross. But will we value this salvation? Will we set this treasure out with the trash, or will we recognize its profound worth and risk everything to have it? Prophets wanted what we now have. Will we share this salvation with the world that desperately needs it?
Sometimes we become discouraged when someone treats this treasure as trash. Peter reminds us of its value through the eyes of others. Salvation is so precious that even angels long to look.