“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.”
but were eyewitnesses
The “but” here is a term of strong contrast. There is a contrast between some subjective observation and exposure to the facts. Peter, James and John actually observed Jesus transfigured on the Mount of Olives.
The word “were” means to become something that you were not before. They were not eyewitnesses before the transfiguration but the three observers of the transfiguration became eyewitnesses. They looked on at the transfiguration of Jesus into His millennial glory. Peter, James and John saw a foretaste of the coming of Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mt 16:28-17:2).
An “eyewitness” is one who watches or observes as an overseer. So these are those who have personally seen an event and thus have personal knowledge and can attest to the occurrence of an event.
This is the only occurrence of “eyewitness” in the New Testament. The Christian faith relies for its trustworthiness upon the witness of historical facts, not stories. The Christian faith requires “eyewitnesses” who can corroborate those facts. Peter defends the doctrine of future things on the historicity of the Mount of Transfiguration.
of His majesty
“Majesty” is a state of greatness or importance. Jesus was prominent and important to Peter’s thinking. “Majesty” means far more than “Majesty.” This word carries the idea of magnificent glory.
“Majesty” can mean the manifestation of great power, mighty power. Here “majesty” refers to the splendor and magnificence of Jesus’ transfiguration of great grandeur and sublimity. Peter, James and John witnessed Jesus majestic appearance. Jesus is His majesty, King Jesus.
“His majesty” could never be used of Isaiah or John. We only use the term “majesty” of the Lord Jesus. We never say, “His majesty Peter or Paul.” We do say, “His majesty, King Jesus, King of the world to come and the Sovereign King of the Universe.”
Luke 9: 43 “And they were all amazed at the majesty of God. But while everyone marveled at all the things which Jesus did….”
They were all amazed at the majesty of God as Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit. Jesus is the magnificent Son of God. No one compares to God’s precious Son.
Peter, James and John at the Mount of Transfiguration [Mount Olivet] saw with their own eyes the Lord transfigured before them into a foretaste of His millennial glory. The experience on the mount then was a sneak preview of the Second Coming (Mk 8:34-9:13). This was a bona fide experience of historical fact. What a thrill it would have been to be there! It was a great privilege for Peter, James and John to see the future millennium unveil before their eyes. Thirty-two years later Peter spoke of it in this Second epistle. He now declares that the event has to do with Christ’s coming again.
The trio on the Mount said in effect, “You can’t fool us. This was no hallucination or optical illusion. This was real. We actually saw Jesus transfigured before our eyes.”
Who had the temerity to break into the scene between the Father and Son on the Mount of Transfiguration? Not James. Not John. But Peter, the author of this epistle. He was a person with a lot of nerve. Peter even offered a plan when Moses and Elijah arrived on the scene. He wanted to build three tents for the guests! He wanted to make a permanent home on the Mount of Olives!
Peter did not get a chance to finish his plan. God broke into his plans. The cross must come before the crown. Peter was out of line. Usually people who sit in the bleachers miss the point. Jesus and Old Testament prophets taught many times that the cross must come before the crown.
Peter interrupted God; now God interrupts Peter. He probably would still be talking if God did not interrupt him! Some people are compulsive talkers. God made the point that Jesus is on course for fulfilling His plan. He must die for the sins of the world.
The Christian holds Jesus Christ in distinction as His Majesty, King Jesus.
One day Jesus will be King Jesus, King of the World. Do you give Jesus that distinction in your life? Is He King of over the domain of your values?