MP3: Traveling Down the Rapture Road in 2 Peter, Lesson 3
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
Continue traveling down the Rapture Road with Nathan Jones and Vic Batista in this verse-by-verse study of the incredibly prophetic book of 2 Peter! You can start at the beginning with Part 1 or listen in to The Truth Will Set You Free podcast (above).
The Real Deal
Vic Batista: Before continuing on our study of 2 Peter 1, I think it is very important to remind people that when it comes to Bible prophecy, the subject is not something that we make up, rather Peter tells us in 2 Peter 1:21 how the Holy Spirit was at work inspiring the Bible’s authors in revealing God’s Word. Peter reminds us that, “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
With that being said, follow along with us in your Bible as we now cover 2 Peter 1:16-18.
“For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”
I love how verse 16 points out how the Apostles “did not following cunningly devised fables.” At that time rumors were already spreading when the Early Church started. Peter responds by saying to people like: “Hey, let’s not get distracted. Who we are following is for real. These are not fairy tales.”
Nathan Jones: Correct, and so Peter shares the fabulous story from Matthew 17 and Mark 9 about how he and James and John had gone up a mountain with Jesus and witnessed His transfiguration. That’s when Christ’s divinity shone through His earthly body. Moses and Elijah were also there. Even God the Father spoke from Heaven and said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for those three Apostles to go back to the other Apostles and say, “We saw Jesus glow like a light! We saw Moses and Elijah as well!” The other Apostles must have been like, “Were you guys drunk or something?” Fortunately, Jesus would have been there to confirm what had happened, and then I am sure they believed it.
Outside of Jesus’ circle of disciples, these three Apostles told other people that they had seen the pre-resurrected Jesus in His glory. They were witness to the prophetic characters from Israel’s history who were heroes of the faith. Many people must have thought that what the Apostles were sharing was a cunningly devised fable when they said they’d seen Jesus in almost a glorified state and had heard from the Father Himself. This would be one of the stories from the Bible that would be very hard to believe for some people unless they had put their faith in the Lord because it is just so — wow — out of there!
Vic Batista: Often the Bible relays how sad are those people who need to see something to believe it. People want to see miracles, and yet there are miracles happening all around them, if they really wanted to see them. I’m referring to changed lives — people who were spiritually dead but now they are living because of Jesus Christ.
Nathan Jones: You’ve got to wonder why Jesus choose those three Apostles to reveal the glory that was within Him. Why didn’t Jesus bring more eyewitnesses? Most of Jesus’ ministry involved miracles like healing and feeding, but to actually have His divinity shine through and to have them meet the heroes of the faith from hundreds of years or so earlier, why not bring a bigger audience? The story of the Transfiguration was just so different from the rest of Jesus’ narrative.
And so, at some point, people must have thought Peter, James, and John were making the whole story up. But, Peter confirms that it really did happen when he said in verse 16, “We did not follow cunningly devised fables.” It’s like Peter was saying: “What had happened is the real deal. Jesus really is the Son of God! Know that, you need to put your faith and trust in Him. Believe us, for we were eyewitnesses to the fact that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God.”
Vic Batista: What a very good point. I’m reminded of what the Bible says in 1 John 1:3 regarding their fellowship with Jesus: “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”
First John also talks about how the Apostles followed Jesus for years. They had also seen and touched Jesus after He’d resurrected, so it was the real Jesus and not a ghost nor a fable.
Nathan Jones: True, Thomas followed Jesus for three and half years, and even he doubted the fact that Jesus had resurrected from the dead. That is until Jesus just popped right there in the room and basically said, “Thomas, put your hands in the holes, and touch my side, and you’ll feel the cut that the Roman soldier put there when he speared me.” Thomas realized it was all true. Jesus was really the resurrected Son of God.
Poor Thomas! For 2,000 years now he has been known as Doubting Thomas. But, we are all in a sense Doubting Thomases, for these stories that Peter was sharing, even though they were first-hand accounts, must have left some people thinking: “Peter is an old man. He must be making things up, or hallucinating, or having dementia. This is crazy!” But, no, Peter could corroborate with the other two Apostles. They could prove what really happened at the Transfiguration and that Jesus truly is the Son of God.
Vic Batista: We sure know how so many people today are trying to make a fable out of Jesus. They claim that He isn’t real and that Jesus was just a made-up story in the Bible. The Jehovah’s Witnesses say that Christ is just a force like He was the wind. People still don’t want to believe that Jesus died and resurrected from the dead and that He is with us today.
Nathan Jones: He is. Jesus is indeed the Son of God. A lot of the cults, of course, try to water the life of Jesus down, or rob Him of His divinity, or compare Him to the archangel Michael, or say He is just a force, or that He was just a good man, or a good prophet. But, if Jesus Christ was just a good man or good prophet, then He was a liar or He was crazy, because Jesus went around claiming that He was the Son of God.Nathan Jones: If #JesusChrist was just a good man or good prophet, then He was a liar or He was crazy, because Jesus went around claiming that He was the Son of #God. #apologetics Click To Tweet
Jesus’ claim to divinity is sound. After all, He performed miracles. He did amazing things. He died on the cross and was resurrected and ascended up to Heaven. Jesus came back and showed the Apostles the future, such as when He came back to visit John on the island of Patmos to give him the visions that ended up being the book of Revelation.
Jesus continues today to prove that He is very real because He changes hearts. We know that Jesus is the real deal because our own hearts and lives were changed when we put our faith and trust in Him.
In the ninth part of our faith journey down the Rapture Road through the book of 2 Peter, we’ll continue to plumb the spiritual depths of 2 Peter 1:16-18.