Good morning from Liverpool, New York!
Our reading for this Tuesday, February 03, 2015 is 2 Peter 1:16-21.
16 We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. 19 And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
As I explained yesterday, I believe the person who heard the words of affirmation from heaven at Jesus’ baptism was John the Baptist. All others heard this through his witness. The event served as confirmation for the Baptist that all he had dedicated himself to doing by serving as a prophet to announce the coming of the Savior was true. His testimony led to others considering the identity of Jesus as the Christ and it also becomes a witness for us today that Jesus is the very Son of God.
We learn from this passage that this testimony regarding Jesus was confirmed in the experience of Peter, since he reports the same testimony being heard by him and unnamed others. The event Peter is reflecting back upon is the Transfiguration of our Lord which took place upon the mountain when two other historical figures appeared with Jesus. They were Moses and Elijah. Moses represented the revelation of the Law found in the Old Testament and given through Moses. The Law became the centerpiece of the Hebrew people’s identity as the people of God, or children of the Law. The appearance of Elijah represented the promises of the Old Testament prophets for which Elijah is the first and which pointed to the revelation of a Messiah, or Savior from God.
Their appearance with Jesus lent divine authority to Him, but this only scratches the surface. Jesus claimed that he came not to negate the Law and the prophets but to fulfill them; they then were subordinate to His authority, a bold claim. Peter’s companions were James and John. Together they had the privilege of seeing the Transfiguration of Jesus with the change in His appearance. They also heard a voice from heaven declaring Jesus to be God’s Son, a relationship superseding that of prophet or law giver.
Beyond the change in His appearance the voice requested that they, and so us, give preference to Jesus’ testimony over that of the Law and the message of the prophets. Jesus then is the only one fit to interpret and apply it. While for generations upon generations those who sought for God, and those known as God’s very special people, guided their lives on the message of the prophets and obedience to the Law revealed by God. Now attention was to be given to an even more direct revelation of God delivered through the man they called Rabbi, but whom we profess is Lord through His being “the very son of God.”
Through faith in Jesus as God’s Son we see Jesus in a different light. Where once He may have been thought to be a great historical figure, even an inspiring one, and to be ranked among other great and inspiring persons of history, with this revelation Jesus is elevated above them all as being God’s only Son. By faith how we view Jesus changes and by faith then our countenance changes for as followers of Jesus our view of His authority changes our thoughts and actions. Jesus once asked His disciples who others thought He was. They gave typical answers such as a prophet, but Peter gave the best witness saying “You are the Christ, the very son of God.”
Since the witness of the Law and the prophets pointed to the coming of the Christ and indeed He came in Jesus, the authority of the Law and the Prophets is confirmed and trustworthy. Peter explains that prophecy itself, which is the truth has its origin outside of human capability; it has its source in God. All persons should take both the witness of the Law and Prophets and that of Jesus seriously especially God is not through with revealing the truth.
Peter refers to a time when “the morning star shall rise in their hearts.” This is a confusing term. We know that Christ was referred to in the Old Testament as “the bright and morning star,” but since He has already come to what is Peter disclosing? It is the time when our faith shall be replaced by sight and the truth we now trust in will be made certain because Christ shall return.
We have evidences for faith from the Law and the Prophets, and even more reasons in the teaching and life of Jesus passed down to us by the testimony of Peter and others who witnessed His life and ministry. But we are left to trust their testimony. It is by faith alone we accept that Jesus is the very Son of God. We live by faith and not by sight until what we trust in appears; then shall we know fully. The evidence is convincing for me as I hope it is for you, so let us give Jesus the place of authority over every claim of wisdom and earthly authority. He is afterall the beloved Son of God.
Blessings! Dr. Brian Homan