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February 20, 2017

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16

I recently purchased a DK Eyewitness Travel book in preparation for an upcoming trip. The publishers of the book claim that their guides “show you what others only tell you,” because they include many color photographs, illustrations, and maps. Clearly the contributors have been there. Eyewitness accounts, while not perfect, are direct evidence of what a place looks like or how an event occurred. Someone who actually saw the defendant pull the trigger is preferable over circumstantial evidence, such as finding a fingerprint on the gun used. Circumstantial evidence requires that an inference be made (e.g. that the defendant pulled the trigger), which is helpful, but not as good as having the direct evidence of an eyewitness to the event.

Christianity is unique in that there are independent historical eyewitness accounts to the miracles and other events that occurred during Jesus’ ministry on earth.  Historians, disciples, and other followers carefully recorded the events of the three years of his active ministry. Others like Luke, a physician who never met Jesus, interviewed the eyewitnesses and carefully researched the recorded events.

In this week’s epistle lesson, Peter confirms that he didn’t just make this stuff up when he wrote about Jesus. He was an eyewitness to the power and divinity of Jesus, the Christ: “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty . . . we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.” (2 Peter 1:16-18). Peter, James, and John were all present with Jesus at his transfiguration: “After six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.” (Matthew 17: 1-3). “ God’s voice at the transfiguration confirmed that Jesus was part of the Godhead: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 17: 5).

And Peter, James, and John weren’t the only eyewitnesses to God’s power and majesty. The Scripture texts for Sunday describe other eyewitnesses to God’s power:[1]Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone like the very heaven for clearness . . . The Lord said to Moses, ‘Come to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction’ . . . Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai.” (Exodus 24: 9-10, 12, 15-16).

When you open your heart and your mind to the God of the universe, you too, will be an eyewitness to his majesty and glory. You won’t see and hear him in real time as the Biblical eyewitnesses did, but when he speaks to you through prayer, people, and events in your life you will witness his power and omni-presence. Believe in the historical Jesus. Believe the eyewitnesses who documented the miracles he performed on earth, who witnessed his death on the cross for your sins, who saw the empty tomb, and who interacted with him on earth after he rose from the dead and then ascended into heaven to return to his Father. Believe, trust, and obey this Jesus and you will witness miraculous changes in your own life.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan



[1] The Scripture texts for the Transfiguration of Our Lord are Psalm 2: 6-12; Exodus 24:8-18; 2 Peter 1: 16-21; Matthew 17: 1-9.

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