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DEVOTION: God's Majesty Revealed

2 Peter 1:16-18

For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.


Sometimes we get fooled; we expect to find something ordinary, but we’re treated to something majestic.

The view from the top of Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado is majestic, but you wouldn’t guess it by what you see on the way there. From nearby, the mountain for some reason doesn’t seem especially large. And it’s a tourist stop. When you get to the top, there are souvenir shops with plastic trinkets and overpriced junk food, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s not exactly what anyone would call awe-inspiring. But when you get out of your car and walk to the edge of the parking lot, the view that opens up is enough to take your breath away. You’re nearly 7,400 feet above sea level, with an unobstructed view of the front range of the Rocky Mountains. One minute you’re deciding whether you want a $5 hot dog, and the next, it’s purple mountain majesty as far as the eye can see.

Sometimes we get fooled; we expect to find something ordinary, but we’re treated to something majestic.

So it was on the mountain where Jesus was transfigured: "As Jesus was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning" (Luke 9:29).

Other than at this moment there had been nothing noteworthy about Jesus’ appearance. He didn’t look different from any other Jewish men his age. Because of this, many people rejected him as Savior. They liked his miracles; they just weren’t sure about him. They thought the Savior should be a different kind of person than Jesus was. He seemed too ordinary, so they moved on.

As it is with Jesus, so it is with his Word. God’s Word seems ordinary.

Even believers can fall into the sin of treating God’s Word like it’s ordinary, like it's something to be ignored if we like. It happens when we think the rest of our life is exciting while time spent in God’s Word is boring. It happens when we don’t make time for God’s Word in our daily schedule. It happens when we do make time for God’s Word, but grudgingly, as if this is merely a routine that we have to follow.

So, confession time. All of us have a problem. We treat God’s Word as though it is ordinary because we want to believe that we don't need it. We act as though the fall into sin never happened, that sin never got passed on to us. We behave as though we don’t deserve the eternal punishment that sinners deserve. We convince ourselves that we don’t need any help to be good people, and that the only reason to be in God’s Word is because that’s what good people like us do. In short, we ignore our sin. But ignoring our sin doesn’t make it go away.

And treating God’s Word like it’s ordinary doesn’t make it ordinary. Just a few verses after today’s reading we hear Peter say: Prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (1:21). Though the words of the Bible may seem ordinary, here is where God reveals his majesty. The Bible is God's Word to the world and that means that in it, he’s speaking to you.

There’s something terrifying about that. When you hear the prophet Ezekiel say, “The one who sins is the one who will die” (18:4) this is more than a thought-provoking statement to get us thinking about our lives more closely. It is a message straight from God to us, and he means what he says.

But the reason God uncovers our sin is so that he can show us what he has done about it. The same Jesus who revealed his glory on the mountain came up to his disciples when they were terrified, touched them and said, “Get up. Don’t be afraid.” Every time you read what Scripture tells you about your Savior, you’re hearing the voice of Jesus saying the same thing to you. “The Lord is my shepherd,” says King David. With those words, Jesus is speaking to you: Sinner, don’t be afraid. “Surely this was the Son of God,” says the Roman centurion who witnesses Jesus’ death on the cross. With those words, Jesus is speaking to you: Sinner, don't be afraid. “He is not here, he has risen,” says the angel seated on the stone next to Jesus’ empty tomb. With those words Jesus is speaking to you: Sinner, don't be afraid.

Don't be afraid, fellow sinner: Jesus has taken away your sin. Jesus has conquered your death. He is true God. Everything he accomplished counts for you.

As it is with Jesus, so it is with his Word. We expect something ordinary, but we instead we are treated to a view of God’s majesty.

The eyewitnesses of Jesus’ majesty never forgot the glorious sight they witnessed on that mountain. Peter couldn't help but say, It is good, Lord, to be here! But he didn't know what he was saying. As good as it was for them to be there, it is infinitely better for you and me to hear the Word the Spirit inspired them to proclaim. By the Spirit- inspired words of all of God’s eyewitnesses, God speaks to us. By his Word he forgives our sin, rescues us from death, and strengthens our resolve to be who he has called us to be. Every time you are close to God’s Word, you can truly say: it is good, Lord, to be here!


Devotion by Pastor Jon Zabell

Copyright (c) 2022, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Green Bay, WI 54301

Bible text, NIV (c) Biblia, 2011

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