Have you ever been an eyewitness to an event? You probably can recount it in great detail. When you witness something quite profound, your mind slows down the action and records it in detail, capturing every nuance. I was present when my youngest daughter gave birth to her first born. Even after being with her through 33 hours of labor, I can recall the moment of his birth like I am watching it on a movie screen. That eyewitness event will happily stay with me forever.
Our last devotional dealt with the Transfiguration of Jesus as observed by Peter, James, and John on the mountain top. Today we have an interesting opportunity to revisit that moment through Peter’s own recollection and writing. This passage in 2 Peter is from a letter he wrote to the early Christian community about 25-30 years after Jesus’s death and resurrection. It appears to have been written very close to the end of Peter’s life at the hands of Nero. Many stories had been circulating for years about the crucifixion, and as stories go, most had been amplified or suffered from omissions. He made the case to his listeners that regardless of what stories or “crafty myths” they have heard, they should now listen to his eyewitness account of the incident:
2 Peter 1 (Common English Bible)
16 We didn’t repeat crafty myths when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Quite the contrary, we witnessed his majesty with our own eyes. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when a voice came to him from the magnificent glory, saying, “This is my dearly loved Son, with whom I am well-pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain.
I appreciate Peter’s concise recollection of the Transfiguration and how he fails to mention that in the heat of the moment, he suggested that three shelters might be built so that they could all set a spell. How often do we retell a story in a way that makes us look better than what actually took place? Of all the things I love about Peter, that fact that he is so much like me is my favorite. But he speaks the important truth from the on-the-scene perspective, erasing any doubt about what happened there.
19 In addition, we have a most reliable prophetic word, and you would do well to pay attention to it, just as you would to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Most important, you must know that no prophecy of scripture represents the prophet’s own understanding of things, 21 because no prophecy ever came by human will. Instead, men and women led by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
There were over 322 prophetic writings in the Old Testament regarding the Messiah, and Jesus fulfilled everyone. Combined with what Peter saw with his own eyes, we are instructed to pay attention to it as we would to a lamp shining in a dark place. Peter then adds weight to his words by reminding us that men and women receive prophecy not through their own study and understanding of events, by God himself as conveyed by the Holy Spirit.
What is God telling you to pay attention to today? Are you overlooking something you need to attend to? Is there someone you could be encouraging and supporting who needs to hear from you? Is he calling you into prayer?
Whatever it, is pay attention to these urgings of the Holy Spirit and get it done. He just might be calling you to your own mountain top.
Mountain Top Moment by Kathy Schumacher