Summary: The Gospel writers did not collect hearsay, but put together eyewitness accounts.
Eyewitness Of Majesty
1. Christianity is a personable faith. It is based on human eye-witness accounts and records. Christianity is God reaching down to man. Our relationship to God is a personal one, if we really know Jesus Christ. Other religions advocate man taking the initiative, not God. In other religions, God is often mechanical and to be kept appeased or at bay.
2. Christopher Ewing shared this story: Meeting with my auto-insurance agent, I confessed that I’d been comparing rates on the Internet and had gotten a quote that was 30 percent less than his. "Tell me, Chris," he responded, "when you have an emergency, who do you want to deal with, a man or a mouse?"
3. But how do we know our faith is true? Between this week’s sermon and next weeks, Peter is offering a defense of the faith. In I Peter 3;15, Peter urges us to be ready to give a defense of our faith. Today’s defense is that our faith is based upon eye-witness accounts of actual events that happened in real history. Next week’s defense is that our faith is true because it fulfills Bible prophecy.
4. At this point, I need to review that Peter was in the process of collaborating with Mark to write the Gospel according to Mark (as evidenced in 1:15 and the church fathers). Justin Martyr quotes from Mark as being the memoirs of Peter (Dial. 106.3). Irenaeus and Papias both state that Mark wrote down what Peter had taught him.The central event in Mark, based on its arrangement, is probably the Transfiguration. I say this because this is the event Peter singles out as a defense of both the faith we embrace and the preview of the Second Coming of Christ, an issue that Peter will soon discuss.
Main Idea: The Gospel writers did not collect hearsay, but put together eyewitness accounts.
I. Peter REFUTED Jewish Myth-making (16a)
A. The Talmud is filled with MYTHS
A myth was not literally true, but a story was invented to communicate a religious or moral idea or promote an agenda. Sometimes, it might be a well-intended fabrication, an attempt to accomplish a worthy goal through deceit.
B. A big issue for the early CHURCH (Titus 1:4)
Titus 1:14b reads, "pay no attention to Jewish myths…"
C. Religion or Faith Based Upon TRUTH?
I Corinthians 15:14-19, "And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men."
II. Peter Previewed the COMING of the Lord (16b)
A. The Kingdom is WHERE the King Is Exalted
David Flusser wrote, "Jesus regarded the Kingdom of Heaven as taking shape around him and together with him. Later on, Christianity was influenced by this idea, but in a somewhat distorted manner, and identified the idea of the Kingdom of Heaven with the community itself -- the Christian Church -- with redemption after death." [Jewish Sources in Early Christianity, p. 54].
• The "coming" is parousia, a "royal visit" (Witherington quoting Moffat)
• Many legends about a king disguising himself as a pauper; in this case, Peter, James, and John discovered that Jesus was truly a king!
B. Peter, James, and John BRIEFLY Visited the Kingdom
• Mt. Hermon -- highest mountain in Israel
C. Moses and Elijah: The LAW and the PROPHETS
Matthew 16:27-28 we read:
“For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
In Matthew 17:1-9, The Transfiguration occurs immediately after the above prophecy:
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah."