By Hoyt Wilson
Pastor, Flatwoods Baptist Church, Holladay
Had Simon Barjona not taken a chance on Jesus, he would have missed a purposeful life and a grand eternity. Simon did cast his life with Jesus and became Simon Peter who first became a follower, then a disciple, and finally an apostle of Jesus. During three short years of being with Him, he became firmly convinced that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16 KJV). After Jesus was crucified, resurrected, and ascended to heaven, Peter preached Christ saying: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 KJV). He wrote II Peter anticipating his death. He wrote his last letter to those who had “obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of Jesus Christ” (II Peter 1:1 KJV) telling them how to build on their faith seven virtues that would make them useful and fruitful to God and to men.
In our focal passage for this lesson he felt constrained to tell his readers of things they already knew about the faith to “stir” them up. William Barclay wrote that “Preaching is often reminding a man of what he already knows.” We are sometimes like the little boy who said to his dad: “Dad, why are we going to Sunday School today. We already know a lot more than what we are doing?” Peter was attempting to get them to remember who they were and what they should be doing. Following through to develop their faith and work for God was so important to Peter that he wrote: “Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance” (v. 15). Why was Peter so convinced that he had been called to “glory and virtue” (II Peter 1:3 KJV) that he wanted other believers to be fruitful in the faith of Jesus?
II Peter 1:16 suggests that Peter had been one of those who had instructed his readers in the faith. He wrote: “… when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ … .” This same verse implies that there were others who considered Christianity “a cunningly devised fable.” Following Jesus had removed Peter from a futile existence because he had heard things and seen things that were magnificently of God. Peter, James, and John were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ meeting with Moses and Elijah on a mountain (Matthew 17:1-13). During this experience Jesus was transfigured. His appearance was changed. His face began to shine and His clothes were glistening white. From a bright cloud that had covered them, they heard the Father saying: “This is My Son whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5). Peter’s confession that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, was divinely confirmed. He lived trusting Jesus and wanted others to trust Him. Peter did not make this up. He had lived it. His faith in Jesus was also validated through the Scriptures that the Jews knew.
Peter put it like this: “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it” (II Peter 1:19). As God was at work in Jesus’ transformation on the mountain, He had been at work in older times by revealing Himself and His work through prophets. Hebrews 1:1, NIV, says: “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son.” God’s Holy Spirit enabled godly men to speak “from God” (I Peter 1:21 NIV). The Bible is a trustworthy account of God’s salvation work on behalf of man. We have ample reason to believe that Jesus is the Son of God who provided the only way of salvation for sinners through His death on the cross. Simon Peter lived life trusting in Jesus. How about you? In eternity you will either say: “I am glad I lived trusting Jesus” or “I wish I had lived with trust in Jesus.”