This last Sunday at St. Paul's we celebrated Transfiguration Day (according to the 3 year cycle of readings and church year). It is the day when our Lord Jesus Christ went up on the mountain with Peter, James and John, his brother, and was transfigured, showing His glory. His face shone like the sun and His garments were pure white. This gives a glimpse of the glory of Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God. (read Matthew 17:1-8)
The epistle reading for that day was in 2 Peter 1. In this reading we have Peter saying, "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 were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, 'This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased,' we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for were with him on the holy mountain." (2 Peter 1:16-18 ESV) Here we are told by one of the eyewitnesses that he saw Jesus transfigured. How much more do we need to believe. Listen to what he has to say and know that it is true.
But wait. Peter doesn't want you to just trust his word. Instead, he does something amazing. He writes, "And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place." (2 Peter 1:19 ESV) While Peter could say, "I saw it, believe what I say," he doesn't. Instead he points us to that which is more sure, that which we can hold fast to in our lives, the prophetic word. He is pointing us to the Law and Prophets (of what we call the Old Testament) which was shown in the appearance of Moses and Elijah on the mountain. You want to be certain that Jesus is the Christ? Look at what the prophets wrote, Peter would say to you. You want to be certain of what is done was according to the will of the Father? Look at the words of the prophets. This Jesus is the fulfillment of those words.
Peter, a man who saw Jesus, spoke with Jesus, walked with Jesus, ate with Jesus and spent 3 years with Jesus, says to you, "Look to the Word of God." Look to what the Holy Spirit has done through the hands of man. Peter writes, "For no prophecy was ever produces by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit," (2 Peter 1:21) We call that verbal inspiration. That is why we believe the Word of God. The Holy Spirit guided the writers of Scripture in the thoughts of their mind and in the words they wrote. Jesus had told the disciples on the night when He was betrayed (we call that Maundy Thursday), "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." (John 15:26 ESV) How did they know what to write? The Holy Spirit guided them. He opened their minds, their thoughts, brought back the memories of what took place and they wrote them down.
I was overwhelmed once again this last weekend as I read these words. I realized once again (as I recall week after week) that the Scripture readings that I was reading in the congregation was truly God's Word. When I end the reading with "This is the Word of God," it truly is.
All we can say in response is "Thanks be to God!"