Peter puts any doubts to rest as to the teachings he is sharing. He wants ALL to know that what he shares is REAL.
Peter wants everyone to know that the teachings he is passing on are NOT false doctrines, as are being spread about during his time. The first thing Peter does is authenticate his source. Peter was one of three eyewitnesses to one of the most astounding events during Jesus’ life on earth. The event Peter is referencing is Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain. This was an event that stayed with Peter, even in the hard times.
I don’t know if you have ever had a deep encounter with God, but it is something that you will NEVER forget. I have had MANY special moments with Him over my lifetime that I cling to but only a few spectacular ones. My husband had one that, even with his memory and cognitive issues, still sticks with him. His happened as he was being taken into surgery for a brain tumor. This was a life or death moment for him. He told God that it was ok whatever way it went. Then he says that he saw Heaven and felt God’s warm embrace and KNEW that not only was everything going to be alright, but God was more real than he had ever believed. He encountered the Creator of the Universe that day and trusted Him with whatever happened.
Peter’s experience was even more shocking and life changing. The disciples had seen a LOT of amazing things from Jesus before that mountain top morning. They had seen Him feed multitudes with very little. They had seen Him heal the sick and raise the dead. They had seen Him calm the storm with only a word. Peter had even walked on water with Him, at least for a little bit. But that morning was different. Peter, James and John saw Jesus radiating light like nothing they had ever seen before. Then they saw Jesus speaking with two of the most famous people in Jewish history. I wonder if Moses and Elijah were also radiant. This site in itself was AMAZING! Peter, being Peter, couldn’t help but throw his two cents in. “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah” (Matthew 17:4).
At this point things REALLY got interesting! GOD spoke!!! It wasn’t Jesus speaking or even Moses or Elijah. It was the Creator of the Universe speaking directly to Peter and company. Bigger that the Wizard of Oz saying; “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” But God saying; “This is MY Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5, emphasis added).
Talk about taking your breath away and the wind out of your sails! Peter was speechless after this. A state he seldom found himself in. In fact all three men were so frightened by the experience that they fell flat on their faces in fear of being struck dead!
Jesus didn’t leave them there in that state for long though. I can imagine Him saying, “Thanks Dad. I got this now. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Peter speechless before!” Of course I see Him smiling at this point too as He walks over and touches His three best friends on the shoulders and tells them they are safe and to go ahead and stand up. I wonder if they all looked around for a moment before getting to their feet. Did they peek first or just rise and notice the difference?
I imagine all three were eager to share this story with the other disciples. I know I would have been. But Jesus told them to keep this event secret until later. I’m impressed by Peter’s ability to do just that. But NOW is the time he gets to share some of it. He has apparently already shared it with John Mark, who penned the book of Mark. So this story is well known when he references it in his letter.
Peter wants his readers to know that not only was this a Jesus story but a FULL FLEDGED GOD MOMENT! God Himself bore witness to Jesus’ deity. God said Jesus was HIS Son. Talk about authority! This was the message that Peter and the other disciples were bringing to the people.
Peter also wanted to make sure his readers understood that GOD was the author of ALL prophecy. Jesus fulfilled EVERY prophecy about the Messiah in the Torah. Every spoken or written word. Nothing was left undone. And for that to happen, there HAD to be ONE ALL KNOWING Author behind it. No way David knew it all. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Moses, and all the other prophets had NO way of getting their story together to make sure everything fit together. So the ONLY way for them to fit was for ONE Source to provide all the insight; God Himself through the person of the Holy Spirit. HE provided the “road signs” for us to KNOW that Jesus was the one and only Messiah.
So if we can trust God to write the previous story, SURELY we can trust Him to write “the rest of the story.” ALL scripture is inspired by God. Men put pen to paper but God supplies the words and concepts. THAT is the take away Peter wants to make known. And this applies to the letter he is currently writing. Pay attention! God is talking!
There is SO much more that I want to say about this passage but I’m going to just throw out a couple seeds for thought instead. Notice that Jesus took THREE witnesses with Him. He could have gone alone or even brought all His disciples but He didn’t. Jewish law required a thing to be established by two or three witnesses to be credible. Also Jesus took His three most trusted followers with Him; even Peter, who He KNEW would wind up putting his foot in it somehow. These flawed men got to witness something that is still talked about more than 2,000 years after it happened. And the flaws were NOT removed from the account. Gives one hope for our own flaws too. If God can use “peppermint socks rocks” imagine what He can do with the rest of us! (Just in case you didn’t get the reference, Jesus called Peter the “rock” and Mike Warnke jokes that Peter must have had peppermint socks because he was ALWAYS putting his foot in his mouth.)
Father God, THANK YOU for so clearly establishing Jesus’ lineage and authority. I wish You could take the wind out of the sails of ALL doubters so quickly. That would change our world beyond belief; my family included. Thank You for the AMAZING experiences You have gifted me with over the years. I could no more doubt Your existence that I could exist without ever breathing again! I wish I could take those personal experiences and bottle them, feed them to my family, and watch the lights go on in their lives. But that is not how You work. Those experiences have to be personal to have that same kind of impact. Mine also don’t have the advantage of two or more witnesses to make it irrefutable evidence. But that time IS coming! There is coming a day when EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus IS Lord. Please help my children and grandchildren personally know that fact before then. Once again, I leave them in Your hands.