2 Peter 1:12-15 (NIV) 12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.
On verses 12-15: Why is Peter so set on reminding his readers about these things? Is it because he has nothing new to say? No, it’s because in Peter’s mind there is nothing more important for him to do at this late stage of his life than to remind Christians that God’s divine power has given us everything we need for life (v3), that trusting in God’s divine promises is the key to experiencing God’s power and living out God’s destiny for our lives (v4), and that being an effective, fruitful Christian is not just about having faith but about being intentional about growing in Christ-like character (v5-11).
I think I’m starting to see where Peter is coming from. As much as I love to share fresh insights from God’s Word, as much as I love to be cutting edge and innovative, I know that the most important truth I can communicate to my church is not a new truth but a reminder of an old one: the truth that God loves us, sent His Son Jesus for us, and that through Jesus we have forgiveness, power, purpose, peace and hope for tomorrow.
Similarly, as much as you may love to hear fresh and new insights that you have never heard before, the most important truths you will ever know are the oldest ones: that God loves you, sent Jesus for you, died for you, and gave you His Holy Spirit to empower you. The more important key to successful living as a Christian is not constantly trying to learn new things and receive new revelation, but it’s remembering and really living out these age old truths that you have already been revealed to you.
It’s funny how no matter how old I get, I realize more and more that the most important lessons I’ve ever learned are the ones my Sunday school teachers taught me as a child: “Yes, Jesus loves me, for the Bible tells me so.” “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
2 Peter 1:16-18 (NIV) 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.
On verses 16-18: Peter was a firsthand eyewitness of more things that Jesus did during his ministry on earth than any other person. Here Peter affirms that the things he is preaching about Jesus are not “cleverly invented stories” (v16) but real life eyewitness accounts. Peter especially mentions the moment when Jesus brought him, James and John on a high mountain and transfigured before them (see Matthew 17; Mark 9 and Luke 9:28-36). But rather than focusing on what Peter saw on that mountain, Peter focuses on what he heard on that mountain when God the Father said about Jesus, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” (v17-18) Peter says that it was at that moment that Jesus “received honor and glory from God the Father” (v17).
What can we learn from this? True honour and true glory do not come from what people say about you, but what God the Father says about you. When you have Jesus Christ in your life, God says something similar to you: “This is my son/daughter, whom I love; with him/her I am well pleased.” 2 Peter 1:19-21 (NIV) 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.
On verses 19-21: Peter saw firsthand more miracles and heard more words from Jesus than anyone else during Jesus’ ministry. If there’s anyone who might be tempted to say, “Forget about reading Scripture. I know what Jesus and God are really like – I’ve been with them personally!”, it would be Peter. And yet here we see Peter reaffirming the importance of Scripture (in particular the prophecies contained in Scripture) and how we would “do well to pay attention to it” (v19). Peter affirms that the prophecies contained in Scripture were not simply the product of a fallible human being’s thoughts (“For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man” (v21)). Rather, “men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (v21).
What can we learn from this? As important and life changing it is when we experience God’s presence and miracles personally,nothing can replace the importance and power of the written revelation of God through Scripture. Beware giving your experiences greater weight and authority than the written Word of God. Give the Word of God the highest place in your life.
Heavenly Father, I find it amazing that even though Peter experienced Your Son Jesus in the most tangible ways, Peter still placed such a great emphasis on Scripture. May I do the same. May I hold Your Word in the highest regard, placing it at the centre of my life, letting it be my benchmark for how to live and my doorway into knowing who You are. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!