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Faith and Experience- Peter- A Great Experience

An early and very strong tradition tells us that Mark’s gospel recorded the message preached by Peter, the impulsive leader of the twelve.

The Transfiguration

Jesus took Peter, James, and John to a high mountain and was transfigured.  His clothes became radiant and he spoke with Moses and Elijah. The three of them spoke about Jesus’ suffering and death. Three gospel writers record that Peter said that they should build places so Moses and Elijah could stay. Mark alone records that Peter did not know what to say because the disciples were terrified by the experience. Peter did not know what to say but, like we often do, he spoke anyway. (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36)

We can sympathize with Peter. Elijah, the powerful prophet who did not die, and Moses, the law giver, would be magnificent allies in any debates with the religious leaders.

Listen to Jesus

But the voice of God that came from heaven said that Jesus was the beloved Son of God and they should listen to him. Jesus was the center of attention, not even great models of faith

Peter Restored

After his denial, and the death and resurrection of Jesus, Peter was restored by his Lord. He was told to feed God’s people and his martyrdom was predicted. (John 21:15-19)

Peter’s Last Words

About thirty years later, Peter knew that the time of his martyrdom was near. He used the word exodus to describe his death. This is the same word that is used to describe the Jews leaving slavery in Egypt to go to the Promised Land and it is the same word used by Luke to describe the conversation at the Transfiguration. Jesus, Moses, and Elijah talked about the Messiah’s suffering and exodus from the earth.  (Luke 9:31; 2 Peter 1:14)

In his last letter to the young churches Peter reaffirmed the power of the experience and gave a pointed application to his readers:

“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.(1 Peter 1:16-21 ESV)

There were miracles when Peter lived and I believe that there are miracles today. However, when we focus on the miracle were can lose focus on Jesus like Peter did at the Transfiguration. The Scriptures are God’s written word to guide us as we seek to live more Christlike lives.

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