Transfiguration Sunday: The Epistle Passage – Listen to my “old friend” Peter

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (II Peter 1:16 – 17)

I have made it no secret how much I look to and admire the apostle Peter. And if the writer of II Peter (and I Peter) is the apostle Peter, than it explains why I like these two letters also. Paul has admiration and respect. Peter has my love and gratitude. How can one not love a man who stumbled his way to understanding Jesus Christ and emerged as one of the founding builders of the Christian church.

“We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.
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.” (Verses 18 – 19)

We will hear later in the week a more first hand account of the Jesus on the mountain top with Peter and others. It did not go quite as smoothly at the time in comparison to Peter’s hindsight. But he does well to draw his reader’s attention to it.

“First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (Verses 20 – 21)

I take very seriously his advice. I have discovered over the years that what I have written does not stem purely from my own understanding. There have been too many times I have looked back at what I wrote and thought, “Now how did I come up with that reflection/commentary?” There have been times I have stumbled through writing on scripture and can clearly see my human efforts at exegesis or explanation. And I blush at the simplicity of it. Other times I have no explanation as to how I thought of it, and can only conclude as Paul concludes, the glory and boasting is of God. And if you think I am bragging about me . . . well, you need to take Paul’s perspective as seriously as I do!

But Peter, he knows it is not through human will or understanding. He says clearly it is the movement of the Holy Spirit. Because Peter knows his limits, as I know mine. So we both commend to you following the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. May you find your understanding there. Selah!