Sunday, 19 January 2020
For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 2 Peter 1:17
Three corrections need to be made to understand Peter’s words here – “Having received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice was borne to Him by the Excellent Glory.”
“Having received” is an aorist participle, active. It finishes the thought from the previous verse. The phrase “was borne to Him” is unique in Scripture. And finally, the word “by,” rather than “from,” indicates that this is referring to God, the Holy Spirit.
Peter is referring to the Transfiguration which is recorded in all three synoptic gospels –
“While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!’” Matthew 17:5
“And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!’” Mark 19:7
“And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!’” Luke 9:35
Looking at the three accounts in the gospels, and comparing them to Peter’s words, it is evident that what is said in the epistle is not directly copied from one of the gospels. He was remembering the account and wrote the substance of what occurred. However, if this epistle was a forgery, the forger would surely have copied one of the gospels directly. It is a note of the authenticity of the epistle.
It is Jesus who “received from God the Father honor and glory.” What this means is to be taken with what the gospels relay concerning Peter’s words. When he and the other two with him saw Moses and Elijah, he said, “Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (Luke 9:33). As Peter spoke, a cloud overshadowed them, and the voice of God the Father spoke the words which Peter now repeats. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
The Father was revealing to these men that the time to “hear the Law and the Prophets” was ending. It was time to now receive the final and full revelation of God in the Person of His Son. Moses served his time, the prophets served their time, but both spoke of Christ to come. A New Covenant was on its way, and it would come through Jesus (see Hebrews 9:15 and 12:24).
The glory that He received is the glory which far surpasses that of the Old Covenant. That is spoken of by Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:7-18. Paul says that the glory of the Old “was passing away” and does not compare to “the glory that excels.” It is this which God the Father was referring to when His voice was borne by the Excellent Glory.
Though the word translated as “borne” is a commonly used word. It is of note that it is the same word used in Acts 2:2 and which is translated as “a rushing mighty wind.” In other words, the Excellent Glory refers to the Holy Spirit who transmits the word of God from God the Father. He does it in written form through men of God (2 Peter 1:21 – where the same word is also used there), and He does it in open displays of glory, such as on the Mount of Transfiguration and when He came to the people of Israel on Pentecost.
At this time, it is seen that all three of the members of the Godhead were present. Peter says the Source is God the Father. The Excellent Glory is the Holy Spirit conveying the word, and Jesus, the beloved Son, is the recipient of the honor conveyed in that word. It is a rather marvelous display of the workings of the Trinity – harmoniously interacting for us to more fully understand God’s nature.
Life application: This same proclamation was made upon Jesus twice during His ministry. The first time was at His baptism and is recorded in Matthew 3:16, 17 (also in Mark and Luke) –
“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”
As noted, it was also made on the Mount of Transfiguration. Peter’s words now confirm what he said earlier – that he and the others were eyewitnesses of the glory of Jesus Christ. Jesus had previously told his apostles, “Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matthew 16:28).
In each of the three gospel accounts, the transfiguration immediately followed this statement, indicating that this is what Jesus was speaking of. The event was like a note of deposit for the apostles to reflect on, and stand by when times would get tough. Peter uses this to assure us that what he says is both true and reasonable.
If you are having doubts about the love of God, the power of God, or the presence of God in your life, take time to consider how He has woven His word together to show you that He is always and intimately with you at all times because of Jesus. The fullness of the Godhead is available to you because of your belief in Christ. Those things which seem to be hindering your walk with Him are actually a part of that walk. Once you realize this, you can truly cast your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Lord, because of the testimony of the apostles and because of the reliability of Your word, we have every confidence that our faith is properly placed in Jesus. In Your word we find comfort, hope, strength, and encouragement enough for every doubt and every trial. Thank You for this wonderful testimony! Amen.