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Jesus - Our Lamp Shining in a Dark Place [3-31-24]

March 31, 2024

2 Peter 1:16-21

“Jesus – Our Lamp Shining in a Dark Place”

If you text me or email me while I’m sound asleep in bed, I won’t get to it until morning. My mobile device and I sleep apart from each other…me in bed with my lovely wife, my device plugged in and on the kitchen counter. But most of the time, under most situations or circumstances, I’ll get back to you within the hour. I love the quickness and ease with which we can communicate.

Praise God that every generation has, by His sovereign will, communication tools by which to build one another up and share Biblical truth.

We are seeing the beauty of that in the letters of the New Testament. Specifically, since last month, in 2 Peter. 

Praise God that most…I’d say somewhere in the range of 99%, of my communications, in whatever form, aren’t about addressing or correcting false or unbiblical teaching. Mostly, they’re about encouragement, affirmation, clarification, instruction, or some such other positive, formative, growth-oriented purpose. God is richly blessing our community of faith.

Peter, as did Jude before him, had a more challenging purpose. He was dealing with outright false teaching. There was a toxic presence within the church that had to be addressed.

Peter found the chase and he cut to it. The charge from toxic critics was that the gospel message was made up by charlatans who were in it simply for the money and power. They claimed a secretive cabal got together and fabricated untruths about Jesus. What was being taught about the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus was made-up to manipulate people.

Peter’s answer was direct and to the point. We have a sure Word. We have a true Word. As the Psalmist says in Psalm 19:7-11:

The law of the Lord is perfect,     reviving the soul;the testimony of the Lord is sure,    making wise the simple;the precepts of the Lord are right,    rejoicing the heart;the commandment of the Lord is pure,    enlightening the eyes;the fear of the Lord is clean,    enduring forever;the rules of the Lord are true,    and righteous altogether.More to be desired are they than gold,    even much fine gold;sweeter also than honey    and drippings of the honeycomb.Moreover, by them is your servant warned;    in keeping them there is great reward.

Then, Psalm 93:5 says, “Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O Lord, forevermore.” Finally, Psalm 11:7-10 testifies that:

The works of his hands are faithful and just;    all his precepts are trustworthy;they are established forever and ever,    to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.He sent redemption to his people;    he has commanded his covenant forever.    Holy and awesome is his name!The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;    all those who practice it have a good understanding.    His praise endures forever!

Scripture tells us that we have a sure word…we have a reliable word. God’s word has maintained its integrity and consistency through the generations. As Isaiah says in 55:3, “Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.” We have a Word of life. We have a Word we can trust. In other words, we are assured that what God promises He will do. We have a sure foundation. A sure foundation.

Here’s an interesting sidenote. In the gospels, Jesus was constantly rebuking and refuting the Pharisees. He dismantled some of their teachings. He drove the moneychangers and merchants out of the Temple. The thing is, Jesus didn’t go after them because they were overly dogmatic about doctrine. He didn’t go after them because they were sticking to Biblical truth. No, Jesus rebuked them because they invented their own doctrine.

In 2 Peter, you had a church under attack. The false teachers were undermining the reliability of the gospel. They were slandering the true teachers of the gospel as well as Biblical truth. The biggest joke is they were saying Peter and the others were doing it for fame and fortune. These toxic people said Peter and other leaders were smooth talkers out to bewitch them. C’mon, man. What have we already seen? Peter knew his days were numbered. A martyr’s death awaited him. He knew he was not long for this world. Fame and fortune? The gospel of Jesus Christ was of utmost importance for him.

Let’s now look at 2 Peter 1:16-21:

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Here's the beauty of how all this ties into the glory of Easter.

Verse sixteen addressed how God revealed the majesty of Jesus Christ to Peter and James and John. “We were eyewitnesses to his majesty,” he wrote. Not only that, they heard the voice which proclaimed, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Where else in the Bible do we read that affirmation? Right…at the baptism of Jesus:

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

  • Matthew 3:16-17

What was proclaimed at the baptism of Jesus and at his transfiguration? That he was sent by God for a specific purpose. Remember that. Both events signaled that Jesus was sent by God for a specific purpose.

And what was that purpose? To save us from our sins. Here’s how Charles 

Spurgeon put it:


That was the preeminent truth for Peter and all the others who were eyewitnesses to the glory of the Risen Christ. There’s nothing more important than knowing your salvation. There’s nothing more important than knowing you belong to God. There’s nothing more important than knowing what the Bible says about you and where you will be when your life comes to an end. 2 Peter 1:16-17 says this is the most important truth to know.

Here's what the resurrection means. Remember the voice from heaven at the baptism and transfiguration of Jesus. “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

How is God most glorified? What is most pleasing to God? Here’s what Paul says in Philippians 2:8:

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming 

obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

In light of all that, what does Easter mean? What is the point and the purpose of the resurrection?

Quite simply, the resurrection is God’s final and authoritative statement that who Jesus is and what he did is timeless and unchanging truth. When Jesus Christ rose on Sunday morning, it was validation of everything Jesus said, taught, and did. And at the top of that list is dying on the cross for our forgiveness. Without Easter morning, the Friday crucifixion was just another enemy of Rome executed for his crimes. Instead, beginning with the eyewitnesses to all the Jesus did, said, and taught, and passed down to us, we have the assurance of salvation. That’s all Peter wants to share. He’s not after money or power or prestige. He simply wants us to know that Jesus died on the cross so we could share in the resurrection with him.

I love how pastor and author Shane Pruitt puts it:

“If you’re a follower of Jesus, no matter how bad this world gets, 

it’s as close to Hell as you’ll ever be. Because Heaven is your home.”

How did heaven become our home? Why is heaven our home? Jesus dying on the cross for our forgiveness makes heaven our home. Easter affirms that truth.

That is the majesty to which Peter says he was a witness. And the knowledge of that truth…the truth of our salvation…is the most important thing to know. Easter is the affirmation that Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life. There is nothing more important than that. As Paul says in Romans 1:1-4:

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Easter declares that Jesus is everything we need.

Last month, one of our members broke his neck in a skiing accident. He’s got a titanium plate in his repaired cervical spine. He is on the mend. He is determined to ski next winter. He was at a hospital in Grand Rapids. Two days after the accident, we were texting. He said, “Life comes at you fast. Best to have a Savior.” That, my friends, is what Easter is all about. Jesus is our Lamp shining in dark places.

Here’s Charles Spurgeon with the last word:


And together, the people of Covenant Church said:


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