When Peter’s name is mentioned, most of us remember him for denying Jesus three times during the night of Jesus’ trial and just before His crucifixion. But, prior to that moment and following Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus took great care of ensuring that Peter understood that he was eternally loved beyond measure and fully forgiven.
If you recall in Matthew 16, just before Jesus Predicts His Death, He asks His disciples, ‘who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ (v.13) If we move forward a few verses, “Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘You are blessed, Simon, son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all of the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.’” (v. 16-19)
God used Matthew to pen this important moment of Peter’s Declaration about Jesus so that we would not forget who Jesus declared Peter to be… the rock upon whom He would build His Church. So, as we read Peter’s words today, let us keep in mind that Jesus’ eternal love for Peter is no different than His eternal love for you and me. Jesus wants to build us up as His Church so that we can go out and share His eternal loving message of salvation. Jesus seeks to build His Kingdom through us, but it also requires that you and I live godly lives that reflect our committed faith to Him so that His qualities can shine through the works that He leads us to do.
In Peter’s second letter, which was written to the persecuted Christians at the time, as well as to you and me now, Peter reminds ALL believers of his presence with Jesus during His transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13). Peter wants believers to understand the power of Christ which he miraculously witnessed in-person. He also wants believers to connect the Old Testament prophecies of Truth to the New Testament Truth of Jesus, the Messiah, and His return. Today’s passage begins with Jesus’ transfiguration, which took place about 6 days after Peter’s declaration that Jesus was the Messiah. Image, Jesus invites you and me up a mountain and He begins to change, His face shines like the sun, His clothes become white as light, and we hear directly from God (Matt 17:2-5). There is no question, that you and me, would fall down on our faces in pure reverence of His holiness. Peter explains this miracle, and much more, in today’s passage:
2 Peter 1:16-21 NLT
16 For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes 17 when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” 18 We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.
19 Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, 21 or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for Your Word which brings us Truth through our Biblical brothers and sisters. Help us, Jesus, to be lamps that shine Your Truth for others to see within this dark world. Keep us rooted in Your Word, growing ever so closer to You. Allow us to be filled with joy, each day, for our salvation and for the daily miracles that You provide to us. We ask all of this in Your Holy Name, Jesus. Amen.