Saturday 10 May 2014

Bible Book:
2 Peter

“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. 16-17)

2 Peter 1:16-18 Saturday 10 May 2014


Eyewitness testimonywas important in the ancient Near East. InJewish law cases judges often required the testimony of two maleeyewitnesses before making a decision. This may be the reason thatthe author of 2 Peter uses the plural pronoun "we" in verse 16. Thereaders of the epistle can trust the good news about Jesus Christbecause it comes from eyewitness testimony. The writer and hiscoworkers were eyewitnesses to the "majesty" of Jesus Christ'sliving power and transforming work among them. What they convey isnot a fairy tale or a myth, but an account of God's majesty inJesus Christ. As John Wesley wrote in his Explanatory Notes on theNew Testament: "But if what they advanced of Christ was not true,if it was of their own invention, then to impose such a lie on theworld as it was ... was the greatest folly that men could have beenguilty of." The gospel (good news about Jesus) they preached wasnot a supreme lie, but the truth for which they would risk theirlives.

The specific reference to the transfiguration of Jesus Christ inverses 17 and 18 is significant. The author recounts thetransfiguration, in which the "glory" of Christ was revealed toPeter, James, and John (Matthew 17:1-9). In the story of thetransfiguration, the three companions of Jesus saw their teacher'sappearance change as "his face shone like the sun, and his clothingbecame dazzling white" (Matthew 17:2). Then Moses and Elijah appearedand conversed with Jesus (Matthew 17:3). The disciples were witnesses tothe honour and glory given to Jesus by God the Father. They heardthe great voice saying, "This is my Son, the beloved; with him I amwell pleased; listen to him!" (Matthew 17:5). The experience overwhelmed thedisciples, whose awe and fear are highlighted in the text (Matthew 17:6).

The general tradition about the transfiguration is itforeshadows two events. The first is the resurrection of Jesus (seeA Word in Time for 2 March 2014), the event in which the earlyChristians would invest their hope. The transfiguration also pointsto the majesty the world will see when he comes again in glory. Thereaders of 2 Peter can look forward to the day when Christ willvindicate their suffering. They will see him in his glory, asPeter, James, and John saw him on the holy mountain. Such promiseswould reassure a vulnerable community of believers that thewriter's message of salvation is trustworthy. The passageencourages the readers to persevere as faithful witnesses so theymay share in the glory of Christ.

To Ponder

  • What does the word 'glory' mean to you?
  • How important is it to you that the biblical texts are writtenby eyewitnesses to Jesus?
  • What experiences have profoundly transformed your life?
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