The Most Important Lesson I Could Ever Teach
Peter says that he is about to die, so he wants to share with Christians the most significant lesson they could ever learn. As a pastor, if I could say the same, this is what I’d say.
2 Peter 1:12
So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 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.
Like Peter, I would want to teach you how to spend time alone with God in His Word. At this time in my life, I know now that I can open the Word and do what it says. How do you pull off living in this culture without seeking God for yourself? Most of us are pretty good at putting up a front-projecting a positive image to others. We can craft that image to be whatever we want to be.
But when you are alone with God, He sees through our duplicity. God knows when I’m trying to sound “spiritual” even in my prayers. He knows better. You can’t hide who you are from Him.
Peter writes in these precious verses “I know the putting off of my body will be soon.” Peter knew he was going to die. It’s not death, it’s putting off the body. How did Peter know? In John 21: 18-19, Jesus was restoring Peter over a breakfast of fried fish. Jesus asked him, “Peter, do you love me? Then feed my sheep.” In John 21:17, Jesus further prophesies Peter’s death:
“Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
When it came time for Peter to be crucified, he chose to be crucified upside-down because he didn’t feel worthy to die the way Jesus did. It’s nonsense to listen to prosperity-gospel pastors teach that if you follow Christ, you will be healthy, wealthy and wise. Imagine how Peter felt when Jesus gave him the news of his impending death. Peter doesn’t complain.
What did Peter want to do with the last few moments of his life in 2 Peter 1:15?
“15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.”
He wants them to know what God says and to do it. When we’re gone, as parents we want to train our kids to be independently dependent upon God.
I was raised in a very Asian family. We only spoke Chinese in my home. I was taught to have tremendous respect for the elderly. I was taught not to talk back to them, question them, but instead to be quiet and learn. Honor was given to an elder. We must honor God and listen carefully to what He says.
“These are the ones I look on with favor:
those who are humble and contrite in spirit,
and who tremble at my word.” Isaiah 66:2
This verse breaks my heart. I remember Peter standing on the mountain as Jesus’ face shone like the sun. His clothes burst into heavenly glory and Moses and Elijah appeared beside Him. In addition, the shekinah cloud of the glory of God descended and enveloped them. Matthew writes, “5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
Can you imagine that Peter was shaking in his boots? He was terrified. He trembled at God’s voice-at His Word.
But do I tremble at His Word? I may read it, study it, memorize it, but do I tremble at it? Don’t be dependent on someone else to give you the Word of God. Open your heart humbly before God with reverential awe and trembling, and do what He says.
Picture yourself on that Transfiguration mountaintop.