The Eyewitness

25 Mar

WitnessYou can catch the podcast here.

Last week we learned that Peter felt a deep responsibility to remind his readers of the truth they knew. As long as he was breathing, he’s going to continue on the course that God had established for him. Even though his readers knew these truths, Peter wanted to stir them up, to rekindle the fire of God so that after he was gone, they would still remember. This morning Peter shoots straight, no fairy tales, no embellishment, just the facts.

2 Peter 1:16-18 says, For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased” and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”

This is a great transition to what he just finished saying. In vs. 12-15, Peter reminds his readers about the truth of Jesus Christ before he leaves his earthly body. He challenged us to live lives of godliness because Jesus has granted us everything we need to do so. He says, “We did not follow cleverly devised tales.” Tales comes from the Greek word where we get our word myth. Peter doesn’t tell his readers any fairy tales. There’s no need to make things up or try to make it better than it is.

  • 1 Tim. 1:4, “Nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.”
  • 2 Tim. 4:4, “And will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”
  • Titus 1:14, “Not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.”

The truth is that our finite minds will find it difficult to understand an infinite God with infinite love, infinite grace, infinite mercy, infinite power; infinite qualities. Peter didn’t tell people about how turning to Jesus will make all your problems go away. Making the decision to follow Christ is free, but it does come with a cost. Living a life practicing the qualities of vs. 5-7 will get you noticed. It will set you apart from the crowd.

Peter simply tells the truth, “When we made known to you the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.” The truth is always best and in this case, there is nothing better. Power and coming should be taken together. He’s talking about the future return of Christ. Matt. 24:27 says, “For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Rev. 1:7 tells us, “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.” They didn’t need to make up cleverly devised schemes because they were eyewitnesses of the majesty of Christ. Peter hints at the theology of the false teachers that he’ll address shortly.

Peter says, “We were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” Majesty means impressive beauty, scale, and dignity. It means royal power. John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” While it is encouraging and exciting to hear what Christ has done and is doing for you, I know what He has done for me. I don’t need to live vicariously through your faith because I have my faith. You can discount the power and majesty of Jesus all you want, but I know what He’s done in my life. Eyewitness testimony is always held in higher regard than hearsay. In essence, Peter is telling them, “Say what you want, but I saw His power and majesty.”

God provides His stamp of approval of Jesus. “When He received honor and glory from God the Father.” Honor and glory are two words we hear a lot and we say a lot, but do we really understand what they mean? Honor means the worth or value assigned to a person. Elected officials are addressed as honorable. Glory means splendid or remarkable appearance. Jesus’ honor and glory come from God. The name of Christ is full of honor and one day, just mentioning the name of Christ will drive all people to their knees in recognition of His honor. (Is. 45:32, Rom. 14:11, Phil. 2:10) We’re able to see and experience His glory in our lives and the lives of others.

The last half of v. 17 may sound familiar to you. “An utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, this is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” When Jesus began His public ministry by being baptized in the Jordan, God said, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17) God commissioned Jesus, appointed Jesus, approved Jesus. Remember Peter is still talking about the second coming and he’s relating what he saw and heard on that mountain. He says in v. 18, “And we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.” Peter’s talking about the transfiguration. He was there and he is recounting this incredible scene. He heard the voice of God giving His stamp of approval on Jesus. God’s words are screaming, “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights.  I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.” (Is. 42:1)

If you’re a child of God, you are an eyewitness of His glory and honor. You have experienced it in your life and have seen it in the lives of others. Are you telling people what you see?

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