“For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”
when we made known to you
Peter “made known” two things about the Lord Jesus Christ: His “power” and His Second Coming. He made known this information by revelation, by Scripture, when he first came to teach his readers in Asia Minor.
“Power” here is inherent power. The devil is mighty, but the Lord Jesus is almighty. The devil is potent, but the Lord Jesus is Omnipotent. There is intrinsic power in His person and work.
“Coming” is a technical term for a king’s visit, arrival, or an important official. When the Bible associates “power” with the coming of Christ, it denotes the idea of a powerful coming. Jesus will come by virtue of His personal power, and His coming will be decisive.
Note this same word for “power” in other New Testament passages:
Mt 22:29, “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.'”
Ac 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The Holy Spirit is the internal power that enables us to share Christ dynamically. He is the Christian life’s dynamo who enables the child of God to have victory over sin and live a life that is a credit to Christ.
Ro 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Ro 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
Eph 1:19-20, “And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.”
Php 3:10-11, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
Peter uses the doctrine of the Second Coming as the basis for establishing valid criteria for truth. Since the Second Coming did not happen during Peter’s day, Peter’s point is more dramatic. Peter is going beyond personal experience. Truth is more real to him than the experience on the Mount. If there is a conflict between your experience and the reality of the Word, the validity of the Word should be the deciding factor for determining whether it is true or not. If there is a conflict between your experience and God’s Word, your experience is wrong.
Peter views the coming of Christ as important. Many evangelicals today sadly diminish the doctrine of the coming of Christ.
The Word of God is the only proper basis for evaluating our experience.
Some people do not have the ability to evaluate their experiences. They cannot do it because they do not have the principles of Scripture to measure their experiences. We all tend to overestimate our personal experience and underestimate the principles of God’s Word. We will never know whether we are right or wrong without measuring whether we are or not. We must have criteria to measure our experiences. God gives us an absolute criterion in His Word.
How do we determine what six inches are? First, we must know what an inch is. You say, “Well, someone says it is “so” long, and someone else says it ‘that’ long.” Which person is right? If I say six inches is equivalent to three feet and am dogmatic that it is, how are you going to prove me wrong? I have made up my mind. Please don’t confuse me with the facts. How do you know that an inch is an inch? We must find a ruler, an established and commonly accepted standard (worldwide) for determining how long an inch is. In biblical parlance, our ruler is God’s Word. God’s Word is from eternity and operates on eternal and absolute norms.
After we use the ruler, we have to know how to use the ruler. We cannot measure an inch by the end of the ruler. We must turn it sideways and use it as it was designed to be used. Many distort the Bible through fallacies such as pretexting (taking a verse out of its context). These people have the correct standard but do not know how to use it. The best way to understand the Bible is to examine it verse by verse in its historical, grammatical, cultural, and contextual context. If we do this, we will not scramble Scripture. Another distortion in understanding the Bible is the error of interpolation (imposing one’s own view on a passage of Scripture).