Peter Didn’t Know,
but We Do!
May you realize that you walk in the grace, the mercy and peace of God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, even as we walk in His glory
Have you ever observed a situation where you wonder what in the world was that person thinking? Why in the world did they ever say that?
Didn’t they realize….. and then you list reason after reason after reason that what they did was idiotic, how in the world couldn’t they have seen, how in the world did they come up with,
Most of us treat Peter that way, wondering how in the world he could manage to put his foot in his mouth so often. Sometimes he got it wonderfully right, like the time when Jesus asked, “who do you say I am?”. Or the time he got out of the boat and set the Guiness Book of World Records for longest distance walked on water by someone who wasn’t divine.
Other times, like when he demanded that the Son of God NOT obey the Father and give his life for us, or the time he said, “I will never deny you!” Or the time he got caught by Paul eating bacon wrapped shrimp with the Gentiles and then telling the Jews it wasn’t kosher!
There were also a few times, where he proved the broken clock theory, where he was right, even when the next second he was wrong. Oh I want to applaud the words he started with – Lord, it’s wonderful we are here! So incredible true were those words, but then – how could he follow up with, I know – let’s set up three tents…
If you’ve ever seen NCIS, that’s a Tony line, one that’s about to get you whapped upside the back of your head!
Build tents? What was he thinking….even John’s gospel tells us he didn’t know what he was saying…. But the part about it being wonderful that they were there…that is pure truth.
What Peter didn’t know… we do…
What Peter didn’t know/hear –do we hear it?
Peter, like a few other times in the gospels, was sleeping, otherwise he would realize what was truly significant in the event on the top of the mountain. It wasn’t the revealing of Jesus in all of His glory, as St. John wrote about:
John 1:14 (ESV) 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
That was incredible – and indeed Peter would mention it in his epistle as well:
2 Peter 1:16-18 (NLT) 16 For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes 17 when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” 18 We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.
It’s not even that Moses and Elijah, the two great leaders of the Old Testament, the ones representing the Law and the Prophets, were there.
It is what is talked about among Moses and Elijah and Jesus, while the Peter and James and John are taking a quick nap. It is the discussion about everything that Moses and Elijah, all the Law, and the Old Testament Histories, the Writings and the Prophets, what all of this pointed to clearly…
The NLT describes it as “his exodus from the world”, that which was about to be fulfilled in Jerusalem….His being lifted up – the crucifixion, His death
The glory of God revealed, the very thing Jesus was sent to do… it wasn’t about the glory days of Israel, it wasn’t about overcoming the rulers from Rome.
It was about the cross, and death, and realizing how much those three numbskulls who fell asleep needed the grace and mercy that would flow like the wounds that Jesus would bear as he was tried and sentenced and executed, bearing all sin upon himself.
Why it is so wonderful
That is why the Transfiguration was such an event. A few verses after this gospel reading, after a little more teaching, and healing as they rejoined the other disciples, Luke tells us, that as the times approached for him to be lifted up on the cross, he set his face like stone and journey’d toward Jerusalem.
So what does that mean for us?
It is about here (the baptismal font) where Kevin will be linked to that exodus of Jesus, to Jesus death, for as Romans 6 says,
Romans 6:4 (NLT) 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
Our chance, Kevin’s chance, to get out of this rat race, to escape, not the problems of this world, but the power that sin and the fear of death have over us, that journey out starts here. As God’s word and the water cleanse him, not just of His sin, but opens up the opportunity to journey with God, in His peace, in His glory, until we arrive home, where we will see Him face to face.
Even so, the dwelling in His glory? It is not so far off. Hear Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians,
2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NLT) 16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
That is what this is all about, what we can comprehend far more than Peter. That living in the love, and the peace of God, is living in, and sharing in the glory of God. Our journey is alongside His – to the cross, as Chuck says, – the cross where His body is fixed, in our baptism, and the cross where we celebrate His body and blood broken and risen, as we share in the feast that is a foretaste of the feast to come.
Build three tents? No! Having fed on the word, let us celebrate as we witness the promises poured out on another brother! Then let us celebrate as we share in the glorious feast, as we realize we dwell in the presence of God; the merciful, loving presence of the one who would be transformed on a glorious mountain! As He was encouraged as he set out for another mountain, one even more glorious, where the depth of God’s was revealed, glorious, even as Jesus would be lifted up for us on the cross.
Because of that – know that you dwell in the peace filled presence of God, which is beyond any understanding, in which we dwell safely, our hearts and minds secured there by Christ.
- We Beheld His Glory (justifiedandsinner.com)
Knowing What to Expect
1 John 3:1-3
†In Jesus Name†
May our joy be complete, as we find our fellowship is the fellowship shared between the Father, and Jesus Our Lord, as we realize that the God our Father has created us to be His children!
Where have the Father’s gone?
When you are taught to preach, one of the things you are taught is to understand not only the context of the passage, what things in the life of the original readers impact them, how they live, what the words mean to them then. You are also that you need to consider the context of those who will be listening to you. How they will hear the words today. What things in life will shape their hearing, from education to experience to one of the most dominant forces in our culture – television!
That is certainly the case today, as we examine 1 John 3 – our epistle reading. Some of us were blessed to have incredible parents who taught us about life, and God, who taught us about getting things right, who comforted us when we really screwed up. Others did not, but they knew of fathers who did those kinds of things. Fathers like Ward Cleaver, or Andy Griffith, or the character Fred McMurray played on “my three sons.” They were re-runs in my youth, and I doubt they are even on the “oldies” stations now.
Instead, the most famous father on television now (and in re-runs) is …. Homer Simpson!
If children today don’t have a role model of fatherhood in the home, if they cannot find such a role model of a father’s love, and his devotion to his children, how can they understand the passage today? How can they understand God our Father’s desire to pour out love on us? How can they understand a passage like:
11:11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:11-13 (NKJV)
So what can we expect of God our Father, what can we teach these little ones to expect of a Father whose love knows no bounds?
We are already God’s Children… yet
The apostle John starts out the third chapter – by talking about the fact, the fact that we are God’s children, even if the world doesn’t recognize us as that, even if we haven’t really begun to understand what that means, and how God has transformed us.
There are a couple of issues here, first the challenge to believe that God can and does transform people. The world doesn’t know us, because they really, really don’t understand God. Their picture of Him is based only in justice, they don’t understand His mercy, His love, and the extent of that love. Perhaps that is due to us at times, where our desire for people not to get hurt comes across as a legalistic moral standard. And where we should be concerned for the damage sin does to their lives, they hear God’s warnings as condemnation.
As a parent, how easy is it to let your children suffer the consequences of their actions? How many of us enjoy disciplining them, and correcting them? But how much more do we hate they pain they have to deal with, when they have done wrong? It takes a little thought, but God’s desire is never to punish never mind condemn. It is that we live life walking with Him, guided away from those things which we might chose, even as a young child doesn’t always choose that which is needed, Like when we warn our kids, those warnings that God gives us aren’t always heard as warnings by those who hear them from us.
It’s hard to understand why we can’t have fun, how such things could result in great pain, to us, and often to others.
Not only do those who do not comprehend God’s love not see us as we are in Christ, but neither do we. There are days I admit, that I don’t see myself as one of God’s kids, and there are days that I wonder about the church as a whole. Part of that is I look at my actions, our actions, and I wonder how in the world we can call ourselves God’s kids, when we aren’t the most loving, or the most patient, or the most merciful. It’s hard to see myself as holy at times, or to see the church, as it acts in the world as holy, as the people God has called and chosen.
While we should never excuse our sin, we should understand the tension of not really grasping how much God is changing us. Hear again John’s words,
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
which Paul echoes,
3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:1-4 (ESV)
what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him
and Paul said,
your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
They agree! Imagine that! They both were led to write that by God, because they too struggled with sin, and occasionally, doubt. Yet there were equally sure of what they knew of God’s character – that as our loving, merciful Father, who chose us to be His children, He isn’t about to give up on us, and our salvation is guaranteed by the one who guards our hearts and minds
Keeping ourselves pure
Besides reminding us that we are going to struggle to realize who we have become as the children of God, both Paul and John then talk about our lives. John tells us,
“3 And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. “
While Paul defines it a little more,
3:8 But now you must get rid of all these things: anger, (improper) passion, and hateful feelings. No insults or obscene talk must ever come from your lips. 9 Do not lie to one another, for you have put off the old self with its habits 10 and have put on the new self. This is the new being which God, its Creator, is constantly renewing in his own image, in order to bring you to a full knowledge of himself. Colossians 3:8-10 (TEV)
I added in Paul, because otherwise we are challenged to know what this word “pure” or holy is about. It sounds like at first it is a standard of behavior, a what not to do list. Part of that is because of the translation, and it sounds like we were most active in this, that being holy depends on what we do. Yet it is talking more about what has happened to us, when God calls us to be His children, and cleanses us of all our sin in Baptism.
But it is that promise of God’s renewing, or better translated – renovating or transforming us into the image of Christ to which I would call your attention. That transformation started in your baptism, as God cleansed you of every sin, and every bit of unrighteousness that was part of your life – even those sins you will commit next week, or the sins these kids will commit when they are their grandparents’ age! That renovation, that transformation continues every time we hear God’s word, as the Holy Spirit uses it to cauterize our wounds, to heal our brokenness, to give us the strength to love God and love and serve others. It continues as we come, called to this altar to share in Christ’s body and blood, broken and spilled that we would know the depth of His love, as He gave up His life, to give us life.
To make us his co-heirs.
To bring us the promise of living eternally with our Father, the one who has made us his children.
1 Cor 2:9-0
John and Paul both tell us, that when we see Jesus return, then we will full grasp how much He has transformed us, when we see Him, we will fully know, even as we are known. When we realize what God has done to purify us. There is one verse I would leave you with, that will help you look forward to that day… even more.
2:9 That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT)
Know you are His beloved children. And therefore know His peace.