Summary: This message deals with the foundational truth that Jesus is the Christ.
A Sure Light In A Dark Place
Two weeks ago I shared with you the third and final message in our series “The Heart of Worship.” In that message we found the disciples on Mount Tabor, the Mount of Transfiguration, with the Lord Jesus where they saw Him gloriously transfigured before their very eyes. Not only did His garments shine brilliantly, but they also saw Him as He stood in conversation with Moses and Elijah, two of the most prominent men in Israel’s long history.
The time is now 67 A.D.; some thirty-five years have passed after the magnificent transfiguration event. The apostle Peter is writing to Christians who are scattered in dispersion because of severe persecution. He is writing to men and women of God whose hearts are greatly discouraged because of their sufferings. He offers to them a message of hope and of faithful endurance until the end.
Peter is very quick to say that the hope he offers to them is not based upon cunningly devised fables. The story, no matter how unbelievable it may have sounded to some, was not fiction, but fact. It was based upon their eyewitness account of the glory of Christ.
Some thirty-one years ago when I worked for Texaco Oil Company in the oil fields of San Ardo, California, I found myself engaged in a discussion of the rapture of the church with an unbeliever. As I shared with him concerning the voice of the archangel, and the sound of the trumpet, and the descent of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the opening of the graves…he looked somewhat bewildered. When I had finished he said: “Man, that is, without a doubt, the biggest fairy tale I have ever heard!”
As I thought about it later, surely some things, which are precious spiritual truths to the believer, do sound like a fairy tale to the unbeliever. Without the illumination of the Holy Spirit to guide one into spiritual truth and understanding, some things just seem to make no sense at all, and even appear to be made up. But, as Peter wrote in verses 20-21: “The prophecy of scripture is not of any private interpretation. It does not come by the will of man, but by the power of God as Holy men of old were moved upon by the Holy Spirit.” In other words, men did not write the Bible as a figment of their own vain and foolish imaginations, but as they were led of God’s Spirit. For, as Paul wrote to young Timothy, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…”
As I think of Peter’s writings, I cannot help but feel that there were many other events of which he could have written. He had walked with Jesus during His three-year ministry and was eyewitness to all sorts of miraculous healings, and even saw Jesus raise men from the dead. But, it was this experience that stuck in Peter’s mind. It was this experience that convinced Peter that Jesus was the Christ…the Promised Messiah of Israel. And based upon what he had seen and heard first-hand, Peter declared to those who loved Christ, yet had never seen Him, that he had a confirmed word of prophecy that was a light that shined in the darkness.
Let’s consider, this morning, the fact that our world is, indeed, a dark place. Sin, lawlessness, and moral depravity abound as man has become a law unto himself. As I said last Sunday, we live in a day where our young people are being swallowed up by violence, drugs, social diseases, and every kind of addiction imaginable. The values and moral principles are not being shaped by the example of godly parents, but by Hollywood. We have become a calloused and insensitive society. A darkness envelops our world and it is a darkness that stems from Christ-less hearts and an ignorance of the Person and the Holiness of God.
Is our world any different today than it was during the time that Jesus walked upon the earth? Well, obviously it is in many respects, such as through modern technology; but, it is no different in regard to the heart of man. The sinful condition of man is revealed over and again from Genesis to Revelation! God declared through Jeremiah the prophet “the heart of man deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?”
Sometimes we just sit back and scratch our heads and wonder, “How is it that people can do the things they do?” Well, Jesus gave us the answer to that question in Mark 7: 20-23. He said: “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these come from within and defile the man.”