May 17 12

Going Out with a Bang!

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To me, the 2nd epistle of Peter is one of the most interesting books in the Bible. I am impressed with the absolute assurance Peter had of his faith in Christ and in God’s plan for the redemption of His people. I am reminded of the conversation Peter had with Jesus after Jesus told him Satan was hot on his trail or as He put it, ”Satan hath desired to sift you as wheat.” Peter told the Lord, “I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.” It was then that Jesus told him in that same night he would deny Him three times.

Peter is the apostle that Jesus prayed for that his faith would not fail, and after that fateful night when Peter did indeed betray the Lord he went out and wept bitterly. I believe it was at this point Peter was strengthened and poised to become a great leader of the faith. Soon he would see the risen Lord and his mission would become crystal clear. We see him in the first chapter of Acts as the “take charge” apostle and then in the second chapter as the fiery preacher that led three thousand souls to the Lord with one sermon.

This book was written shortly before his death and if we could sum up Peter’s desire in the last words that he wrote we can say he wanted to go out with a bang. His confidence in Christ shows up in the first chapter as he describes seeing a glimpse of Christ in His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration. His fiery temper is apparent in the second chapter as he shows no tolerance for false teachers. And then in the third chapter comes the bang. He describes how Jesus Christ will return in power and glory and how in a great deafening noise the heavens and the earth as we know them will be destroyed. All is not lost however, because the promise of God is sure that a new heaven and new earth will appear and the righteousness of God will reign supreme.

Peter wrote this while knowing his death would soon come. Tradition says that he was crucified on a cross upside down. Whether or not this is true, we do know that Jesus said Peter would be carried by others to his death and his hands would be outstretched (John 21:18). Many believe this is an allusion to his death on a cross. It is clear this information did not shake Peter’s confidence. He was ready to die and he left his readers with a command to live in the light of Christ’s return. He wrote: ”Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (3:14).

Peter’s courage inspires us to wait for the Lord and to endure patiently any hardships we may face. The world is against us and believes we are utterly foolish to expect Christ’s return. The world is doing now as Peter describes; they mockingly ask “Where is the promise of his coming?” By and by, they shall see. God will end this world with a bang and the end will be the exaltation of His people with Him in glory!

Pastor V. Mark Smith