Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Shining in the Dark with the Light of Truth (2 Peter 1:19)

“So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:19, NASB95)

On the mountain Peter, James and John had seen Jesus with Moses and Elijah. The presence of Christ had been linked before their eyes with two key figures who had gone before them to point them to His coming. The words the prophets had heard and hoped to see realized, were now made even more sure in front of these disciples.

This event is set up against what follows next in Peter’s letter, which is a warning of the false prophets to come as the return of Christ draws ever near. Peter was personal witness to the truth and now as he was preparing to leave he was bracing them to stand against the lies. By pointing to Jesus’ encounter with Moses and Elijah, Peter linked the prophets of the Old Testament with the coming of Christ. They were inseparably linked in the fulfillment of God’s promised Redeemer. There was no division in them. What the prophets had foretold Jesus was bringing to pass. God was keeping His Word, which is the absolute truth.

There were going to be may coming forward who said that they had the truth or a special insight or new revelation concerning it. But with each insight or supposed revelation what they put forward would resemble less and less that truth that the prophets and apostles had taught. This is why Peter repeated himself. It is that important that they know the truth.

In response, the objection “What is truth?” has been raised throughout time. It was even rhetorically posed to Jesus on the day of His crucifixion as He stood before Pilate. Pilate had asked Jesus if He was a king, to which Jesus responded, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”” (John 18:37, NASB95) And, it was in response to this that Pilate came off with what was probably that same flippant response, “What is truth?” It appears that Pilate held truth as something less than absolute and possibly even not to be grasped. Jesus’ words had no impact on him, and Pilate did not take seriously Jesus’ affirming that He was indeed a king just as He was purposed to be through His birth. Pilate didn’t see it. He did not grasp the significance of truth, and he was ready to set Jesus free because His opinion really didn’t matter. And, were it not for the cries of the crowd, Jesus likely would have been released.

But God’s standard is different. He sent His Son as the truth. Truth is more than what Jesus said. He is the embodiment of truth. It was through Him that all things came into being and it is through Him that truth was spoken. Truth is inseparable from Him, and it doesn’t matter how strongly someone might believe or even proclaim something else, there is no truth apart from Him.

When Peter wrote, “So we have the prophetic word made more sure,” he meant just that. What they had been told had been affirmed in Christ and they were right there when it happened. Sure, there is an aspect to this in which we are all going to have to trust, but even in that our trust today is not empty or blind. We have the words of the prophets. We have eyewitness testimony of the apostles. We have the Words of Christ preserved for us, and we have the Spirit of God working in us to make it even more sure. We have a great hope because we have a great God who has made great promises which He has fulfilled and will continue to fulfill until such time that we enter the presence of our Lord or He first returns.

The world doesn’t see the light. But neither did we until God opened our eyes. We have been placed in this interim time by God as vessels through which His light is to shine. We live with great hope because of His great assurance, and we have much to share as we are Him ambassadors to those who only know darkness and no understanding of the real truth found in Christ and God’s inerrant Word.

“Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:8–12, NASB95)

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