Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Today I am going to speak about our epistle (2 Peter 1: 16-21). In this epistle, St. Peter refers to the story in our gospel (Matthew 17: 1-9). The focus of the season of Epiphany is the episodes in the life of Jesus Christ which are manifestations or previews of the glory and power of the risen Christ. We begin with the story of the Three Kings guided by the light of the star to the Child Jesus. We conclude the season of Epiphany with the story of the Transfiguration in our Gospel for today. This event was very moving for the three witnesses, Peter, John and James.
In our text, Peter says: For we have not made known unto you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, following contrived; But as having seen with our own eyes His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, a voice came to Him from the excellent glory saying, "This is my beloved Son of mine, in whom I am well pleased." And we heard this voice sent from heaven, when we were with him on the holy mountain.
We find the same words, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am pleased, in a voice from heaven in the story of Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River. In both stories, God the Father Almighty commanded all to listen to His beloved Son. Peter and the other disciples were not present at the baptism of Jesus, but they were present on the holy mountain when Jesus transfigured before their eyes.
Our gospel says that the face of Jesus shone like the sun. Our Old Testament reading (Exodus 34: 29-35) reads: And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of the testimony in his hand, as he came down from the mount, he knew not that the skin of his face shone , after having spoken with God. And Aaron and all the children of Israel looked upon Moses, and behold, the skin of his face was shining; and they were afraid to come to him.
The face of Moses reflected the glory of God, but it was not the source of light. The face of Jesus was the source of light, because Jesus is God. Moses was the most important figure in the Old Testament because he received the tablets of the Law on Mount Sinai. But Jesus in His own person is the Word of God. Peter and the others saw the shining face of Jesus with their own eyes.
The Bible contains many wonderful stories. It tells of extraordinary things, not ordinary things. Today many people think that these stories of miracles are good for teaching children the values we want to form in our children. However, they are not stories that adults should take seriously. This is a wrong attitude, because although we teach these stories to children in a simple way that they can understand, these stories are true stories that adults can study in depth. They are not just fables for children. No one can understand the Word of God in its entirety, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can understand that it is necessary for salvation.
There is evidence for the truth of the Bible stories. God created heaven and earth, an ordered universe. The sun always comes out in the east, never in the west. That is why we can plan our days. Science is the study of nature and natural laws. By scientific research, we can measure the growth of corn and discover how much water and fertilizer corn needs for an abundant crop.
In addition, the order of the universe testifies to the existence of God, in case there is order, there is a design, and if there is a design, there is a Designer. In the practice of science, men rely on the Designer, whether they recognize the presence of the Designer or not. The order of the universe bears witness to the will of God.
However, God has the power to suspend natural laws to do His will. And he has done miracles as signs of his will. But, normally, God in His love and mercy sends rain to the just and unjust. That is why some people say it is not important to pray to God for rain, or to thank God for rain. We pray to God for the rain and give thanks for the rain, because we understand the grace of God. He keeps the universe in order by his will and power and does not destroy the universe as we deserve.
The creation shows the universal will of God, but the miracles show their special will for us. We have the testimony of these miracles and the special will of God. Peter says thus: We also have the most sure prophetic word, to which you do well to be attentive as to a torch that shines in a dark place until the day clarifies, and the morning star emerges in your hearts: Understanding this first, That no prophecy of Scripture is private interpretation. Because the prophecy did not come in times past brought by human will, but the holy men of God spoke as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
The Bible is the testimony of the prophets and apostles. St. Paul says the church is founded on the prophets and apostles (Ephesians 2:20). Well, other people today say, "I have a sign from God, I have a dream, a vision." We should not trust this kind of thing. Because the true signs of God reveal Christ, and in the written Word we find all we have to know about Christ. We have the testimony of the church from that time of the apostles until today of the truth of the Scriptures. We also have the evidence of archeology, because the Bible is full of the dates and places that the inscriptions on the stones confirm.
The true voice of God today is found in the Scriptures. They bear witness to the wonderful deeds of God, above all the glorious resurrection of Christ. We believe that one day we will also be resurrected to live forever with Him. In this faith we have peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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