16 September 2017

2 Peter 1:16-18

“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honour and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.” (vv. 16-18)

Psalm: Psalm 82


These verses are very much words of testimony. Peter is telling how, rather than being simple fishermen, their lives had been transformed. He is emphasising the fact that the message he gives is not a mythological message made of up of legends or tales told by those who did not have the whole story. Rather his message is one which comes from having actually been there on the mountain (Matthew 17:1-8), when they saw Jesus transformed from the teacher and friend they had known, into something more ("we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty") - the Christ, the Son of God. They had heard the voice of God himself declaring this, and as such had had their lives transformed. The style of his writing is, according to Harvey (in his Companion to the New Testament), that which might be expected of an educated Hellenistic Jew. And it is clear from both these verses and the ones we have read this week, that the Church had already developed something of a conventional rigidity, which if followed, would lead to a blessed state in the future.

In Peter's mind the significance of the Transfiguration, which he has quoted to the people, is not in the experience itself but in the voice of God declaring that Jesus is God's son.

To Ponder

  • Do we sometimes spend our time down on the ground of our faith without going up and meeting Christ on the mountain? What might meeting Christ on the mountain mean for you?
  • Is the Church today becoming as rigid as it would seem that the church to which Peter is writing had become? If so, what needs to change?
  • What significance do Peter's letters have for you today in help you in fulfilling your discipleship?

Bible notes author

The Revd Pat Billsborrow

Pat Billsborrow is a supernumerary minister in the Northwich and Winsford Circuit, and is at present part of a district ministry team working within that circuit with pastoral care of four churches. She is ecumenical officer in the Cheshire part of the Chester and Stoke on Trent Methodist District.