Eyewitnesses of His Majesty – Part 2
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory,
This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. (2Peter 1:16-18)
THE DAYS OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE WERE HARD DAYS. Rome was an iron fist of oppression geared to squeeze taxes and submission from its governed. Those who could tell interesting stories were welcome in every village. A story told with an audience gathered around, was relief from their burdensome life. Prior to the days of Greek and Roman kingdoms, the Chinese had raised storytelling to a fine art. The Romans may not have produced as many stories as they simply collected and passed on. Many stories found their way into books, which served as a reservoir for storytelling.
SOME OF THE STORIES WERE CLEVER and intriguing and the story tellers that circulated from place to place might pick up a few coins to feed themselves. The human mind craves stories and even in the poorest of times, there is room for a good story. In America, during the Depression, Hollywood movies flourished as little movie houses sprang up everywhere and for a dime you could see a movie. That was hi-tech storytelling and people would just about spend their last dime to be entertained for an hour and be transported to a land of make-believe.
WHEN THE PERSECUTED JEWISH CHRISTIANS FLED JERUSALEM and scattered throughout the Roman territory, they told their story. The Christian story blended with other stories. The story of a man who had been crucified and rose from the dead was an interesting story. It had more root with Jewish listeners because part of the story was already inside them. They knew from their ancient Scriptures, from Moses and other prophets, that such a man was prophesied to come to Israel, one day. Gentiles knew much less or nothing about the story they were hearing.
WHEN PAUL WAS IN ATHENS, GREECE, HE VISITED THE AEROPAGUS where philosophers gathered and exchanged ideas and apparently listened to stories. Paul got his turn to tell his story and he went at it with vigor. And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) (Acts 17:19-21)
YOU CAN SEE WHY PETER WOULD WRITE TO PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS and remind them that the thing they had believed was not a made-up story. Peter’s letter to the Jewish Christians was: “No, no! Our story is not made up! Out story is not a fable, not fake. We are not itinerant story tellers who travel around for a few coins telling stories. Our story is a true story. This man, Jesus, really did come to Israel preaching interesting things and was crucified by the Temple authorities. But He’s alive! We saw Him. He is God in the flesh! We are eyewitnesses of his majesty! “Let me tell you what I saw with my own eyes,” Peter writes.
WHAT PETER SAW WITH HIS OWN EYES was the transfiguration of Christ upon a mountain where He took Peter, James, and John to pray with Him. All the other disciples were left behind. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all include the story of Christ’s transfiguration in their books by their names. But none of the three were there as a witness. Peter was the leader in conversation on the Mount of Transfiguration.
PETER HAD SEEN JESUS STILL A STORM AND RAISE THE DEAD, but none of that impressed Peter as what he saw with his eyes on the mountain with Jesus, James and John and the visit by Moses and Elijah. Then came the voice from Heaven declaring that Jesus was God’s Son, in whom He was well-pleased. That impressed Peter and he was all-out for telling it as an eye-witness! Not a mere story teller, but as one who was there and saw it happen!
But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. (Luke 9:32-33)
PETER WAS AN EYEWITNESS OF HIS MAJESTY AND HE WAS NOT BACKING DOWN!
With this, he encouraged Jewish Christians who were facing prison and death far away from home.
Come to think of it, Peter was also our personal witness who was there in person and his eyes and ears are our eyes and ears. How do we know he is a personal, reliable witness? Isn’t this the one who denied the Lord out of fear and then insisted that he be crucified upside down because he was not worthy to be crucified upright as was his Lord? Peter is my personal witness who saw it in my place. I believe him. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MAY 11, 2018 – FRIDAY
A.M. 2Kings 1-3 P.M. John 3:22-36
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
(A lady told me they go to Morning Minute and let the man read to them while they eat breakfast.)
Good Memory Verse:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)
Song for Today:
I Love to Tell the Story (3:47) – (Acapella Male Quartet - Samonte)
Note: You may need to turn off the song when finished to avoid something else you do not want to hear.