(from Part 1)
The apostle Peter says that he would not neglect to remind his Christian readers of things they already knew and knew well.
Peter was going to make sure that they always had trustworthy accounts of the good news of Jesus Christ. He was writing things down.
Peter knew that he was soon to die (v. 14 – compare what John wrote in John 21:18). Both he and the other apostles were ending their time, and Peter knew that they must provide a permanent record of these things that would remain with the Church until Christ returns (v.15).
It is vitally important that we get this. There are no apostles in the world now. No human being who can tell us anything authoritative about God or Jesus Christ or salvation apart from the words that are given in the Bible.
Here we have Peter, alleged by some to be the first Pope, telling us that we have no need of a Pope to tell us new things that are not already in the Bible. We have no need of charismatic ‘apostles’ on television to tell us that they have received a word from the Lord if those words are not already written down in the Scriptures.
Peter, like the other apostles, was careful to ensure that we would always have a reminder of these things after his death.
- From Peter we have two letters and most likely his version of the Life of Christ is preserved in the Gospel of Mark.
- John has given us a Gospel and three letters.
- Matthew has left us his Gospel.
- From Luke, the companion of Paul, we have a two-part Gospel.
- We also have Paul’s letters, and those of James and Jude. In addition we have the Old Testament witness to Jesus Christ, which the New Testament makes clearer.
Remember how Peter had said that Christians must be diligent to make their calling and election sure? Peter said that he would be diligent to provide a reminder, a permanent reminder of the very facts that Christians need to make sure regarding their faith.
- What is it that I believe about Jesus?
- How does that belief of mine line up with THE FAITH?
- What the Bible says I am to believe about the Lord Jesus Christ?
- How the Bible says I am to respond to that message, that call of the gospel?
- Is the message of the Bible the message that I trust?
“We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the coming and power of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (v.16)
Peter knew, even in his day, that there were deceivers in the world (2 Peter 2). People who try to use the church for their own profit; who would twist the message and pervert the Good News to another gospel in order to promote themselves.
Peter wrote to make sure that we would be able to tell the difference between the true message and false messages. Peter and the other apostles were eyewitnesses of the things that the Lord Jesus Christ said and did.
- They told of his power as God; (divine glory)
- They told of his real humanity (his appearing).
- They told of his perfect obedience to God the Father. They heard God’s voice from heaven.
- They heard from Jesus himself what his life and death means :
- This is my body broken for you
- this is my blood for the forgiveness of sins, for your sins.
- They told of his death on a cross.
- They told of his resurrection – the same Lord Jesus alive again after his death,
They could do all this because they saw and heard these things themselves.
We can know that they were not making it up. Their lives were on the line because of this message. The message of Jesus is very unpopular. It always has been.
I know that some people have died for a lie that others have told to them. But the apostles, these fisherman, tax-collectors and Pharisees, risked their lives for a message about what they themselves saw and heard. They could not help but speak. The Love of God compelled them.
We know that some crazy people have died for crazy things that they believed. Waco, Jonestown… But Peter and Paul did not store up weapons for a revolution. The apostles did not urge their followers to suicide. Quite the contrary.
Sane but dishonest people don’t die for their own lie, not when there is a way of escape. Peter and his fellow apostles were very sane, and they were not at all dishonest.
- The religious leaders threaten Peter and John with death, but they told them that they’d be fine if they stopped spreading the message about Jesus Christ. Peter and John defied death and kept doing the job that Jesus gave them to do.
- The Romans were very ‘tolerant’ of people who believed different things from them. All you had to do was not believe them firmly and consistently. If you wanted to believe in Jesus, that was fine as long as you worshipped Caesar as well.
Paul talked of the risks, the beatings, the imprisonments, the wild beasts in the Coliseum.
So their message was good and reliable, because it was received from Jesus himself.
They heard God from heaven attesting to Jesus credentials.
This Lord Jesus Christ is the Just One who Justifies ungodly sinners.
(to Part 3)