13 February 2018

2 Peter 1:16-21

“So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” (v. 19)

Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow

Psalm: Psalm 89:19-37


Although the passages chosen for this week are from six different books of the Bible, the links between them are clear. Here Peter’s letter reflects on the Transfiguration, an event described by Mark’s Gospel in Sunday’s reading. The Transfiguration was clearly a key moment for Peter and he uses important words to convey that; “power”, “coming”, “honour”, “glory” and “Majestic Glory”. He urges attentiveness upon us all in the poetic words of verse 19. Perhaps written in a context of denial of the belief that Jesus would return, he offers two proofs that such a message is trustworthy.

Firstly he draws a contrast between “cleverly devised myths” (v. 16) and his own eyewitness account of the event. Christians today may not be eyewitnesses of the Transfiguration but we do have first-hand experiences to share; perhaps if the non-church-going population heard or saw more eyewitness accounts and fewer cleverly devised myths the impact of our worship might be very different? Peter uses his experience as such an eyewitness to infer that the Christian message is about real events, not myths. God does break into the flow of the world.

Secondly (verses 20-21), prophecy originates not with humanity but with God. These verses are enigmatic and carry both challenge and reproach. In our current climate of ‘pick-and-mix spirituality’ we can easily fall into the assumption that all prophecy is a matter of interpretation, that each person brings their own equally valid understanding to Scripture. Peter seems to be saying the opposite here, that because of the underlying inspiration of the Holy Spirit, there is a single voice to be heard amidst the many voices of Scripture.

To Ponder

  • How might this reading lead you to Repentance and Renewal?
  • How might you learn to be more attentive? Is it the same as mindfulness?
  • What is the place of eyewitness/first-hand testimony in church life and evangelism today?
  • How do you respond to the idea of one voice speaking through the many voices of Scripture?

Bible notes author

Jill Baker

Jill Baker lives in Glasgow and is glad to be part of the small but distinctive Methodist Church in Scotland. She is a local preacher and local preachers’ tutor in the Strathclyde Circuit, where her husband Andrew is superintendent minister. For Jill, the past 20 years have included all sorts of roles within Methodism – further afield (as a mission partner in the South Caribbean) and closer to home (with WFMUCW, MWiB, leading pilgrimages and as part of various committees and groups) and is currently the Vice-President of the Conference 2017/2018. When not engaged in these ways, Jill enjoys walking in the beautiful mountains of Scotland, gardening and writing; she blogs at www.northoftheborder.wordpress.com and "Thanks, Peter God", her book about the life of her son, Peter, who died in 2012, was published in 2016.