The Apostle Peter has written of Jesus’ divine power, which gives “everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him”, and through which Jesus “has given us his very great and precious promises” (verses 3, 4). These are the “things” of which Peter (in verse 12) reminds everyone reading and hearing his letter.
Second Epistle of Peter 1: 12-18 (NIV)
12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.
16 We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eye-witnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honour and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
“I saw it with my own eyes!”
When we hear someone say this we are more inclined to believe the speaker – even though the story may seem far-fetched. We place greater credibility on the account of an eye-witness. So it is in our courts of law, with the eye-witness account being acceptable as evidence whereas, for example, hearsay may not be accepted as evidence.
In this letter the Apostle Peter has presented his own experience, shared with the Apostles James and John, as a witness of the transfiguration of our Lord in order to support his assertion of “the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”. This is no cleverly invented story! Peter was an eye-witness of his majesty.
Almost 2000 years later those of the Christian faith accept this eye-witness account and other eye-witness accounts in the Gospels and in the Epistles of the Apostle Paul. These are important components of what leads us to belief and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Why, then, do so many today not accept these eye-witness accounts? Or do they reject not the eye-witness accounts but that those accounts are relevant to their daily lives?
In Parliament House on 26 and 27 October, many Parliamentarians and others gathered publicly to give witness to what we believe, to our faith and trust in Jesus as Lord. On other days, in small meetings throughout the building, people gather privately in Christian witness.
As a witness to Jesus Christ, the Apostle Peter was not content to deliver his message only once. He was intent “always (to) remind … of these things” (verse 12). He considered it “right to refresh (people’s) memory” (verse 13) for as long as he lived.
We, Parliamentarians and others placed in Parliament House as witnesses to Jesus, are called to do just that, not only on occasions like National Prayer Breakfasts but on all occasions – daily, hourly.
“(God’s) intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known …” (Ephesians 3: 10).
The church is a witness. The church must be a witness or there is no church.