The Discovery Channel’s most popular program is called MythBusters. According to a Wikipedia, “The show's hosts, special effects experts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, use elements of the scientific method to test the validity of rumors, myths, movie scenes, adages, Internet videos, and news stories.” Subjects have included such things as, will a fire extinguisher thrown into a raging fire explode and put the fire out, will two bullets that hit each other head on fuse into one bullet, did pirates wear eye patches to preserve their night vision, can a human tooth be shaped into a bullet that is accurate, lethal, and undetectable after it shatters on impact, and can you make a candle out of ear wax as in the movie Shrek. In 2 Peter 1:16-21 the Apostle Peter does some myth busting of his own. He busts the myth that the divinity of Jesus is a myth. As there are today there were many skeptics of Jesus’ divinity in the first century A.D. There were some who were saying that the Apostles made up “cleverly devised myths” about Jesus. Today, too, there are those who believe that it is their responsibility to de-mythologize Jesus. Time Magazine recently did a cover story on the search for the historical Jesus. What they meant by that is that we cannot trust the Biblical account of Jesus because it was written by biased authors. If you will pardon the pun, every attempt to de-mythologize Jesus is really mything the point.
Peter makes this very clear when he writes in verses 16-18, “we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,’ we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.” Peter is referring to what Christians call the Transfiguration, when Jesus took Peter, James and John up on the mountain that Peter calls holy, and was changed into brilliant light. The light was not just around Him; it seemed to pour out of His very being, out of His every pore. Moses face shined like he had a sunburn after encountering God on Mount Sinai. He was reflecting the light of God in His face. But Jesus actually became light, brilliant light. Yet even that is not quite accurate. Even before the transfiguration Jesus was light of light from all eternity. But before the Transfiguration that light was clothed in His humanity. What Peter saw that day was a glimpse of who Jesus really is underneath His humanity.
But it wasn’t only what they saw that day, but what they heard as well. The Greek in verse 17 is even more emphatic than the English, “He is My Son, My beloved.” When the Father calls Him, “My Son, My beloved,” He is attributing to Him divinity. Cats have kittens, dogs have puppies, humans have baby humans; so if God has a Son, He must be of the same nature as the Father. Christ’s enemies understood this even better than the disciples at first. The Bible tells us, “This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18). Those who try to de-mythologize Jesus are mything the point.
Actually the Bible has another word for de-mythologizing; it is called unbelief. Unbelief is the most serious of all sins because it is at the root of every other sin. What keeps a person from God and salvation is persistent stubborn unbelief. The reason that Jesus’ enemies crucified Him was that they didn’t believe in Him. They didn’t believe in Him, not because they had no proof – they had seen His miracles – but because He was challenging their lifestyle and the way they did things. He was turning their world upside down. They knew that if they believed in Him their lives would have to change. That is the source of unbelief today. People know that they would have to give up lying, stealing, judging, lusting, gossiping, etc. But what they don’t understand is that if they would believe in Christ, they would begin to reflect His love for truth, generosity, compassion, purity and words of encouragement because He would come to live in them.
The good news for us is in verse 19. “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” We were not there on the holy mountain when Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James and John, but we have something even more sure, the Bible. This is of great comfort because when I fail the Lord, I need to have a Word of God that I can go to that can sure up my faith. Peter calls it “a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” A dark place means a dark, filthy and dismal place. Sometimes that is the world around me, but other times it is the world within me. The Bible is the light that shines into my sometimes darkened heart. Peter says that the Bible can do that because it is not of human origin, “knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (verses 20-21). The Bible has the power that it has because it is inspired. The words “carried along” are the same words used to describe a sailing ship borne by the wind. So the Spirit carried along the writers of Scripture. It is not just some guy’s interpretation of life. We have lots of philosophers who have attempted such things. They may even move some people with their rhetoric, but only the Bible can lead people to a faith that both saves and transforms sinners into saints. So don’t myth the point. Allow God’s Word to work its work in you.