Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Devotion: Transfiguration - Just a Story?

Some people say that the Gospels are just mere stories. Peter, however, declared that they were eye witness accounts of what truly took place in Christ's lifetime. Our challenge today is this: do we accept Peter's testimony?

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I love making up stories, especially for the children of our church on Sunday mornings. I guess I started telling stories for my brothers late at night when we were kids. Three of us shared the same bedroom and each of us had to deal with my mother’s insanity in different ways. At night time, sleep never came easy for any of us, so I would tell stories to my younger brothers and eventually they would sleep peacefully. I can’t really remember what any of those stories were about – it all took place about forty years ago – but those storytelling skills have stayed with me, which is why I enjoy giving the kids sermon during worship.

Some people believe that the Gospels are just made up, and have become ecclesiastical stories that people must accept or they will experience the Church’s wrath. Eckhart Tolle in his book, “A New Earth” makes such a complaint. He writes about the Bible being a collection of stories with morals within them that are imposed upon the readers or hearers. What he is trying to do is to undermine the value of the Bible and diminish the faith of Christians.

2 Peter 1:16 We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Peter, in his second letter, faced similar opposition, which is why he reminds his readers that the events he relates about Jesus were not just stories, but eye witness accounts of what actually happened. Peter insists that he was there when Christ was transfigured. It is not a magical story, which is meant to charm the listener; it is an actual reporting of what truly happened.

Tolle may wish that the Gospels were mere stories so that he can pursue his own misguided philosophy. Peter, however, was willing to die for what he knew to be true, so for me, his testimony has more authenticity than anything Tolle can make up.

The question for all of us today is this: are the Gospels mere morality tales to help us through life, or are they God’s truth to lead us to eternal life?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your life is so different from all others and Your messages are meant to challenge our lives and change our ways. Some voices in the world would have us believe that Your teaching, Your existence, and Your purposes are just mere myths. Help us to hold fast to Your ways and keep us from falling into the temptations of unbelief. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee.


Viola Larson said...

Thank you Stushie,

Sitting here on a rainy Sunday afternoon you and your sermon are an extra blessing for the day. Praise God for his "true" story of his wonderful gift Jesus.

Stushie said...

Amen, Viola.