The devil never changes his strategy. He loves to put the question to us, “Did God really say?”
Satan started this with Eve in the Garden of Eden. He asked the faith-shattering question again and again in each succeeding generation. From Cain and Abel to Noah, then on to patriarchs and prophets — right down to the time of Jesus.
There were people in the apostle Peter’s day who listened to this lie too. Make no mistake about it — there are plenty of people in today’s world too who wonder, “Did God really say that?”
It’s Thanksgiving time. But here in the United States, fewer and fewer people make God a part of their Thanksgiving anymore. Is “Did God really say?” behind so much of the current ingratitude we see in our culture?
- Did God really create the heavens and the earth?
- Does God really sustain our lives and bless us with many blessings?
- Did God really send his Son to be our Savior from sin?
- Do I really even need a Savior from sin?
- Is there really another life — an eternal life that follows this life?
- Is there really divine help for me? Can I really experience transformation in my life?
Recently, Stephen Colbert interviewed Bill Maher on his late night show. Maher responded to Colbert’s appeal to humble himself and admit there are things in the universe he doesn’t understand. He said this, “I do admit there are things in the universe I don’t understand. But my response to that is not to make up silly stories. Or to believe intellectually embarrassing myths from the bronze age.”
That interview was very recent. But then again, if the lie still works, why would Satan change his tactics? The applause and cheering in the auditorium would indicate that those five words — Did God really say that? — are still pretty effective words.
Which is why Peter says, “We were eyewitnesses of his majesty,” referring to the transfiguration.
He is appealing to his readers, “Believe what we’re telling you. No one is trying to control you or force you to believe it. We respect you. And so does God. He must, because though he is all-powerful (meaning he could force faith on us), he has still permitted you to disbelieve if you want.”
“But know this,” to paraphrase Peter, “we ourselves are completely convinced because we saw it — up close and personal — with our own eyes. We are not making this stuff up.”
Peter is convinced. Jesus really is who he says he is. He is the Son of God. He is the Savior of the world.
Your Lord. And your Redeemer.
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. (2 Peter 1:16, NIV).
Lord, through your word, send me your Spirit, that I may trust that your word is truth, and know the freedom that your truth gives me.
Our Bible reading for Friday, November 27, is Daniel 2:24 – 3:12, 2 Peter 1:1-21 and Psalm 135:1-12.
Header image based on "Jesus Will Set You Free" by Kevin Shorter, CC By 2.0