Then came a cloud which overshadowed them and a voice spoke out of the cloud, “This is my dearly-loved Son. Listen to Him!” Mark 9:7
We were not following a cleverly written-up story when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ—we actually saw His majesty with our own eyes. He received honour and glory from God the Father Himself when that voice said to Him, out of the sublime glory of Heaven, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’. We actually heard that voice speaking from Heaven while we were with Him on the sacred mountain. The word of prophecy was fulfilled in our hearing! You should give that word your closest attention, for it shines like a lamp amidst all the dirt and darkness of the world, until the day dawns, and the morning star rises in your hearts. 2 Peter 1:16-19
So Peter wrote his second letter just before he died. And he knew he was about to die. And somehow, out of all of the things that he lived and he saw from his time walking the dirt and darkness of the world with Jesus, this sleep-confused moment was what he remembered when life was hard and full of questions.
And the word of prophecy that was fulfilled in his hearing? Six days earlier, Jesus declared to his followers: “Believe me, there are some of you standing here who will know nothing of death until you have seen the kingdom of God coming in its power!”
And yet this kingdom of power was not always so simple. There are lots of thoughts on the mountaintop experiences as contrasted to the murky valley moments that make up lots of everyday life. Facing our everyday demons.
And I spent a lot of yesterday with folks who I know and love and respect. But sometimes the conversations started sounding a lot like the Pharisee Thank-God-I-am-not-like-other-people, robbers, evildoers, adulterers. And I didn’t have much to add to the conversation because really all I could hear was the “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” And while he was being whipped and slashed and spit upon he had one last request of His Father, He Who Created Heaven and Earth did not ask for His rights, but rather He asked His Father to forgive them because they do not know what they are doing.
And if he could die for people while they were yet sinners, perhaps I can serve them a piece of cake. Who am I to judge a child of God?
He who knew no sin, became sin for our sake.
So maybe we shouldn’t be so much saying, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Maybe Augustine got it wrong.
And as I head down the mountain, the mountain filled with a light so bright, so light, dazzling white—whiter than any earthly bleaching could make them, let me listen to the dearly-loved Son. And remember that the Kingdom of God has arrived in power. In power for restoration and renewal. And to listen to the dearly-beloved Son.
And as I head into trouble, for in this world there will indeed be trouble, let me not be afraid. For He has overcome the world. He has destroyed sin. Only believe.
“If you can do anything!” retorted Jesus. “Everything is possible to the man who believes.”
“I do believe,” the boy’s father burst out. “Help me to believe more!”