March 23 - 2 Peter 1:12-18

Sunday, March 23, 2014

2 Peter 1:12-18 – We Knew Jesus

So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things. 

For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor 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.”  We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

In John 21:18-19, Jesus tells Peter that he will die a martyr's death. We find Peter acknowledging that this is going to happen soon in these verses (2 Peter 1:12-15). He wants to make sure that things are put into place so that his readers are able to remember the truths that he has spent the better part of his life teaching. Some scholars believe that 2 Peter 1:15 indicates that he spent time recounting his memories to Mark so that the Gospel would be written.

False prophets and teachers used myths and stories to emphasize their teaching. Peter clearly states in 2 Peter 1:16 that the stories he relates are true because he was an eyewitness.  Paul used the same terminology in dealing with false prophets in 1 Tim. 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:4 and Tit. 1:14.

One of Peter's favorite memories had to have been the Transfiguration (Mark 9:1-13). Jesus ensured that Peter, James and John were allowed to witness the glory of heaven so that they could relate the story to others on earth ... as witnesses and participants.

Non-Biblical sources are used to make suppositions regarding Peter's life in Rome and his death. However, these sources are generally accepted as historical.  Josephus (AD 37 - AD 100) wrote two major works which describe Judaism and early Christianity, St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Clement of Rome, St. Ireneaus of Lyons all spoke of Peter - that he and Paul were the founders of the church in Rome. Josephus wrote of how Roman soldiers entertained themselves by crucifying men in varying positions, which affirms the possibility of Peter's crucifixion being upside down.

Tradition holds that Peter fled from Rome to avoid execution, but in a vision/conversation with Jesus, was told that he (Jesus) was going to Rome to be crucified again, so Peter turned around and went back to Rome to meet his death.

He would have been murdered by Nero between 64 and 68 AD. On October 13, 64 AD, Nero celebrated the 10th Anniversary of his ascendancy to the throne. This holiday was generally celebrated with much bloodshed and came three months after the fire which Nero blamed on the Christians, hoping to eliminate many of them in the aftermath.  This may have been a good time for Nero to execute one of the great leaders of the Christian faith.

All of the stories, all of the traditions are interesting information, but what we actually know of Peter is that he as a man who knew Jesus intimately and his purpose in life was fulfilled as he taught people how to come to know his own Savior personally.