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2 Peter 1:16-21

19 February 2023

Exploring the Scripture

Marketing, advertising, and promotions are tools to help convince us of a need to buy something that would make our lives better by owning it.  Another popular phrase is that you “just have to see it to believe it.”  Marketers say this when people are skeptical or believe what they are being told is too good to be true. Much has been written by people who study the power of suggestion and social media.  This passage is the opposite of attempts to manipulate people to believe in Jesus.  The author of 2 Peter clearly states the testimonies they offer are not made up, but they are the result of being there when Jesus was alive and offering ministry.   

Doubt is a natural experience of life.  For some, doubt has taken root deep into their souls, and it is difficult for them to accept faith experiences.  This passage confronts doubt and skepticism from the beginning: Pay attention.  Pay attention not because we have a new product that will improve your life but because we offer you our testimony of what we experienced.  We are merely telling you what we heard spoken by God and what we experienced with Jesus when he fed thousands, listened to a woman at a well, and raised his friend from a tomb.  We are not telling you a myth; we share with you our story and how it changed our lives.   

This passage also shares an essential connection to the Hebrew Bible.  We read that if the eyewitness accounts are not enough, search back through the scriptures of prophets, and in them, you will find that our testimony is grounded in the ancient faith.  Far too often, people of faith grab onto the latest fad or “quick fix,” hoping it will inspire people to join.  This passage’s message is grounded in the long heritage of faith that began long ago and points the way to Jesus.  Now, Jesus’ ministry is handed on to them. They bear witness to what they experienced. Now, amid all the darkness, they are passing it on to us.  In some ways, this passage is the testimony of words spoken by Jesus.  “Blessed are [you] who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:28).  

Central Ideas

  1. The testimonies recorded in 1 Peter are authored by first-hand witnesses of Jesus’ life and ministry.
  2. These first-hand experiences were life changing. Those affected in this way authentically shared their witness.
  3. Those who doubt these accounts are encouraged to search the long heritage of ancient faith found in the Hebrew Bible which points the way to Jesus’ ministry.

Questions to Consider

  1. Share a time when you had doubts in your faith, but others’ testimony led you to new insights and a deeper faith.
  2. What are some ways words of scripture have challenged you? What are some ways words of scripture have shaped you?  
  3. How are you trying to pay attention to what God is doing around you and within you? What testimony do you offer of how God is moving in your community?   

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