Peter reminds the persecuted Christians that he was an eyewitness to Christ's glorification at the Transfiguration. Yet he also mentions something surer (!) than personal experience: the prophets' testimony about Christ. Facts vs. emotions--difficult in our current romantic (i.e. emotion-based) era. It surprises us.
Context of this reading: Peter encourages the church to several noteworthy things, especially faith, knowledge (Christianity is fact-based--it strengthens our faith), virtue (conforming to a set of eternal principles--the word is used only here in the Bible. Our standard is the 10 Commandments; our essence is Christ), and godliness (combats the godlessness of Peter's age and our age. We ought to reflect Christ by the clean robes He has put on us).
Peter reminds us that Christianity is not based on man-made myths. You don't risk your life for a myth. Two things in the Bible confirm God's glory, His truth: eyewitness accounts and a sure prophetic word. No one ever just made up true prophecy--it was revealed from God through the Holy Spirit.
Don't use the word "interpretation" loosely anymore--"understanding" works. The word "own" comes from the Greek idios, from which we get the word idiot. Idiots create their own religions. God creates the one true religion, revealed here in Christ, God incarnate.
Because God is pleased with His beloved Son, He is pleased with us as well. Be sure of this; even when you don't "feel" that God loves you, He still does. This is the essence of the Gospel: the Father loves us for Christ's sake.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Today's sermon text, breaking from Isaiah, was 2 Peter 1:16-21.