How Confident Can We Be in the Gospel?
2 Peter, Day 5
"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."
- 2 Peter 1:16-21, ESV
What would you do if you got onto a plane, readying for takeoff, and the pilot came on the intercom and said, "Welcome aboard! We're flying a somewhat reliable aircraft today that's been basically maintained okay. We anticipate a few problems and errors along the way but hopefully nothing too serious." I don't know about you, but I would immediately be on my feet, heading to the nearest exit.
Is that the way you think about the Bible? Is that what you think about the reliability of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? If you wouldn't trust such a plane to fly you from one city to another, why would you trust a "somewhat reliable" and "basically okay" Gospel to get you eternal life? You wouldn't, and you shouldn't.
Thankfully, we have a very reliable Gospel from an absolutely trustworthy God given through faithful eyewitnesses. Peter is emphasizing the reliability of the Gospel message through two main pieces of evidence: eyewitness testimony and fulfilled prophecy. The Bible says that by two or three witnesses, a matter is established. Jesus had more than two or three eyewitnesses to so much of what He said and did.
Peter highlights the Mount of Transfiguration, where he and James and John were three eyewitnesses to the glorification of Jesus and the affirming testimony of not only Moses and Elijah, who appeared on the mountain with Jesus, but the very voice of God the Father Himself, speaking from heaven. Thus, we have three eyewitnesses to an event that itself had three witnesses.
Think of the number of people who saw Jesus feed the 5,000 or raise Lazarus from the dead. Over 512 people saw Jesus Himself resurrected. We have a number of reliable eyewitness accounts, which have come to us in the four Gospels and in the New Testament epistles.
And yet, we have been given still more, to strengthen our confidence still further. Peter says "we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed." The words of the prophets have all been fully confirmed in the person and work of Jesus. Micah told us He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Samuel told us He would be the Son of David (2 Samuel 7:12-13). Isaiah told us He would minister in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1-2) and that he would be rejected and would die for the sins of His people (Isaiah 53). David described in detail how He would be crucified (Psalm 22:14-18). Both Isaiah and David foretold His glorious resurrection (Psalm 22:21-28 & Isaiah 53:10-12).
The eyewitness testimony of so many confirms the fulfillment of so much detailed prophecy. Together, they give us an absolutely solid confidence that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and Savior of sinners who trust in Him.