By Jordan Standridge. Reposted from The Cripplegate.
We’ve all had incredible experiences.
Whether it is catching a big fish, or winning a big game, or, more seriously, witnessing the birth of your child or thinking back to your wedding day.
Some claim to have had religious experiences where God told them something to do, or where He revealed something to them. I think we can all agree, though, that our experience cannot even come close to match what Peter experienced by being around Jesus for three years.
As he spent time with Jesus, he was constantly amazed.
He saw it all.
Water turned into wine. Blind men seeing. Zacchaeus’ repentance. Dead men living. And hundreds and hundreds of more miracles.
But there was one experience that superseded them all. He got to see something that, in my opinion, is the greatest experience in human history.
He was on a mountain with James and John. Jesus was there, and the Bible tells us that He was transfigured.
Matthew 17:2 says,
And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.
All of a sudden, Moses and Elijah show up and Peter witnesses the three of them have a conversation. He immediately wants to build tents and stay there forever. Then God speaks and says,
This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!
It is safe to say that none of us will ever experience anything that comes close to that.
Yet, it is fascinating to hear Peter talk about it.
In 2 Peter 1:18-20, Peter has something fascinating to say about that experience. He says,
For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
Think about what he is saying!
We were there on a mountain, we saw Jesus transfigured! We saw Elijah and Moses speaking with Jesus! We heard God speak to us! We are certain of it!
Yet DO NOT trust our word. Don’t trust our experience.
Trust the Bible!
The Bible, Peter says, is surer than any human experience.
The Bible isn’t based on human experience. It’s not based on what men think, but, rather, the Bible is a book that was breathed out of the mouth of God.
As we head into a new year, let me ask you a question. Did you trust your experience above the Bible last year?
You may say, I would never do that! I’m a discerner! I believe in expository preaching! Let me tell you that we are all in danger of trusting in ourselves rather than in the Bible.
This year, resolve to read the Bible more, but let me encourage you to resolve to do what the Bible says. Reading blogs and listening to sermons is wonderful, but every time you do it, seek to apply it. Actually, ask the Lord to change you because of what you just heard or read.
Sadly, this is so needed in the church.
We have many people who are capitulating on doctrine and theology because of experiences that they have had. Whether it is a sensing that God’s Word is not reliable in certain areas, or whether it is negative experiences that they have faced, we are seeing a trend toward compromise. Unless we are trusting God’s Word and allowing God’s Word to speak and inform our beliefs, we are in constant danger of allowing experience to compromise our trust in Scripture.
We need a sea of people in the church who completely rely on Scripture–to unapologetically declare our hearts’ wicked inability to know the truth without it, and to resolve to completely rely on the Holy Spirit to inform our doctrine and theology.
Of course, Peter loved being on the Mount of Transfiguration. He wanted to set up shop and live there forever! But looking back to that incredible experience his takeaway was that he wanted people to understand that their belief in God should not be reliant on the word of Peter, but, instead, should be solely reliant on the Word of God.
We can be thankful for so many things God allows us to experience, but always remember that our experience no matter how great and no matter how sure we are about them can be wrong. The Word of God however cannot and will never be wrong and we must resolve to read it more, trust it more, and most importantly to obey it more. May we be men and women of the Word.
Happy New Year!
Jordan is the pastor of evangelism at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA. He has a wife named Jenny and 4 children, Davide, Matteo, Nico and Gabriella. They’re on their way to Italy as missionaries check out their website at Standridge.org.