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.
“If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have believed it.” I suppose all of us have said something to that effect. My wife said it occasionally when our boys cleaned up their rooms without being asked.
It’s difficult to dismiss an eyewitness news report. Long before TV producers invented the slogan, “Eyewitness News,” our legal system relied upon eyewitnesses to confirm or deny the charges against a defendant.
Sometimes claims are so outlandish we have to see it with our own eyes before we’ll believe it. Remember Doubting Thomas? The testimony of the other disciples wasn’t enough to convince him Jesus had risen from the dead. He needed proof. And boy did the Lord give it to him. Jesus told him, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” (John 10:27)
Ever since Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension there have been doubters. Let’s face it, seeing living and breathing people walking among us after they’ve died is an unbelievable experience.
When was the last time you saw someone lifted into heaven? And that part about coming back to take His followers with Him?
Even today, so-called theologians try to explain away the miracles and supernatural teachings of Christianity. The early disciples faced the same high-minded dismissal of the truth. And they countered with an argument difficult to refute. They were eyewitnesses. Consider the following eyewitness account from the Apostle Paul:
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
In our focus text, Peter was challenging false teaching that had gained popularity in the church. Charlatan propagandists were challenging the basic tenants of the faith, including the doctrine of the Second Coming. But Peter had truth on his side based on a personal eyewitness account.
In fact, Peter wasn’t the only one who was given a glimpse of the Lord in glory. James and John were also witnesses to an event we call the Transfiguration of Christ. (Matthew 16:28-17:8)
I’m reminded of the opening lines of the wonderful old hymn, Blessed Assurance. “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!”
Peter, James, and John were given a preview of coming attractions. They knew what they were talking about because they were in Jesus’ inner circle, the Lord’s closest friends. They saw His miracles and heard the Lord’s teachings.
Now, you and I aren’t eyewitnesses, but we can and should be witnesses to the truth of Christ. But how is that done? How can we give testimony about someone we’ve only read about in a book and heard about from preachers, teachers, and other Christians?
Your witness is your personal experience gained from your walk with Christ. How have you changed since coming to the Lord? What has He helped you overcome or helped you to endure? What has He taught you, or what events and circumstances in your life can only be explained by divine intervention? When have you been lifted up when you should have been down? What is your eternal hope? Why do you know in your heart of hearts that Jesus saves? How do you know God loves you?
Today we saw Peter recount His knowledge of Christ. He expects us to be able to do the same:
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15
Eyewitness news regarding your life with Christ isn’t just what you see. It’s what the Lord has written upon your heart.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Why You Get It and Others Don’t
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.