Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Truth and Nothing but the Truth (2 Peter 1:16)

“For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16, NASB95)

Have you ever heard a story that seemed more and more preposterous the deeper the person got into giving you the details? It’s as if one statement was being added to another to build a picture that was too unbelievable to be believable. Sir Walter Scott was a famous Scottish novelist, playwright and poet. Among his writings is probably most famously “Ivanhoe,” but among his words that have stuck there is probably none more famous that those from his poem, “Marmion” (published in 1808) in which he wrote: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we [practice] to deceive!” (Spelling of “practice” changed) It seems that “spinning a yarn” is a propensity of man when he wishes to present something as much more grand and glorious than it might otherwise have been. This is true of fishing stories as it is with thoughts and beliefs.

Peter wrote here that what he was sharing with them was not some fanciful or cleverly devised tale. They didn’t put their heads together to come up with a new “religion” to lure in a vast number of followers.  They weren’t seeking their own glory as spiritual giants with special insight. No, what he and the rest of the disciples who were with Jesus wrote was what they had personally seen and been taught by Him. They were firsthand witnesses and they were giving a firsthand account of the true details without any embellishment.

There were many gods known to the people at the time, and each one of them had a history and a system of belief or worship surrounding it. This is true of the pagans or non-Jews and as we read in Titus 1:14 the Jews had their own for which believers were to steer clear of. “not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.” (Titus 1:14, NASB95) Paul had written to Timothy to stay focused on the truth and to let the truth and only the truth direct His steps. “But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;” (1 Timothy 4:7, NASB95)

When Paul was preparing to leave for Jerusalem prior to going to Rome he paused to call the Ephesian elders together and give them some last instructions. In encouraging them in the work set before them he also cautioned them saying, "(28) “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (29) “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; (30) and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. (31) “Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. (32) “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” (Acts 20:28–32, NASB95)

Here Peter was also commending his readers to God with a similar instruction to be on guard for teaching that would seek to tickle their ears and lead them astray. There was no question that there where those who were going to try. They could not prevent them from making the effort, but what they could do was guard themselves from listening. They had been given the real truth from eyewitness to Jesus Christ who is the real deal. And, heeding Peter’s words they were to do so knowing that they had been given the absolute truth through him and those with him from God.

Peter was chosen by Christ. He walked with Christ. He was personally loved, nurtured, and taught by Christ. He was reprimanded and even restored by Christ. He saw Christ go to the cross and he raced to see His empty tomb when Jesus rose from the dead. He spent time with the resurrected Christ. He ate breakfast with Him, and he even saw Him as the Son translated into heaven to return to the presence of the Father all before his eyes. He was there for this incredible scene in Acts 1:9-11, “And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”” (Acts 1:9–11, NASB95)

There are no holes to poke in their story because their story is the absolute truth. It was testified to by many and verified by the personal and visible resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ who we read appeared to over five hundred people at one time. This is what we read from Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8: “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” (1 Corinthians 15:1–8, NASB95)

It’s the truth and nothing but the truth. 

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