He was an old man. He couldn’t hear anymore. He could barely see. His body was broken down after a lifetime of hard work...from foraging, to fishing, to fishing for men. Though his body was failing him, his mind was still sharp. He could still remember everything - just like the Master said.
- Seeing the Master and hearing His voice for the first time along the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
- Pulling in a big catch of fish at the Master’s request - and realizing that this man wasn’t just any ordinary man.
- Watching Him walk on water and then getting out of the boat and doing it himself!
- Making a great confession of faith to the Master: “Christ, son of the living God.”
- Enduring a stinging rebuke just a few moments later after trying to keep Him from His mission.
- Walking to the top of the mountain with the Master, James, and John, and experiencing something few other human beings have.
- And then, of course, the events of Holy Week: the arrival, the parade, the temple, the supper, the garden, the betrayal, the arrest, the denial, the trial, the cross.
Actually, he didn’t remember those last two - the trial and the cross. The others had to tell him about it later. For he had denied knowing his Master, running away in shame and weeping bitterly.
But he did remember Sunday morning. Did he ever! With the arrival of the third day came reports of an empty tomb, and a stone rolled away. “He is not here - He is risen as He said! Go tell His disciples (and Peter) that He is going ahead of you to Galilee - there you will see Him as He said” (Mark 16:6-7).
There Peter did see Him, and there his life was changed. He was restored three times for the three times he had denied his Lord. Then came the ascending, and then the sending, and then Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth.
He begins the letter with grace and peace (2 Pet 2:1) - gifts that had been given them by God through the righteousness of his Son, Jesus Christ, their Lord, and Master.
And now Peter was nearing the end with one last task to fulfill, one more letter to write. Some of his fellow followers in Asia were starting to give up hope - doubting that the Master would ever return. So Peter reminds them (just as the Helper had reminded him) of all the things the Master had promised, and the faith that each of them had been given.
He begins the letter with grace and peace (2 Pet 2:1) - gifts that had been given them by God through the righteousness of his Son, Jesus Christ, their Lord, and Master. These gifts imparted divine power that enabled them to “partake in the divine nature,” which allowed them to participate in the life and love of God Himself (v. 4). As they remembered their calling and continued in the faith (v. 10), he would richly provide for them in this life, and also give them entrance into the eternal kingdom of the life to come (v. 11).
Peter is reminding them of these things because he knows that his time is short, and he wants them to be able to recall the truth when he is gone (v. 13). So he goes back to one of his most vivid memories: the encounter on the mountain with James and John, Moses and Elijah, when the Master was transformed (metamorphosed) into an amazing manifestation of unspeakable brilliance (vv. 17-18).
It was all true: the teachings, the healings, the miracles - all of it.
Peter is quick to say that he isn’t making any of this stuff up. These are not “cleverly invented stories” (v. 16). He and the others had been eyewitnesses to his Majesty. They were there, they saw the shining shekinah glory, and they heard the thunderous voice from heaven say, “This is my Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” It was all true: the teachings, the healings, the miracles - all of it.
And as great as all that was, Peter reminds them of the sure and true word of God spoken of and written by the prophets. Now, this word was also confirmed by the apostles, as “a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns, and the morning star rises in your hearts” (v. 19).
Until that great and glorious day, we have God’s Holy word, inspired by the Holy Spirit, carried along and written down by men, as a guide to forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life in Christ (v. 21).
May grace and peace be multiplied to you all in the knowledge of God and Jesus, our Lord. Amen.