The lead up to the cross in Luke’s gospel, especially in Luke 22:54-71 is stark and tragic. From the courtyard where Peter sat by the fire and there denied his Master, to the courtroom where the religious leaders of the day denied their own Messiah, the story is full of irony and tragedy. And yet as Isaiah once prophesied, ‘It was the will of the Lord to bruise him’. It was all in God’s plan of course, that His people might be saved. His loss, our gain.
After describing the events in the Upper Room, the text of Luke 22:39-53 take us to the holy ground of the garden of Gethsemane. There, Jesus wrestled with the enormity of what it was that the Father was asking Him to do and submitted Himself to the Father’s will even though it would come at great cost. Why did He go through with it? Because He loved His Father, leaving us to ponder an important question about our love for God and our desire to see His will being done.
In the hours immediately before the death of Jesus on the cross, Luke 22:31-38 reveals the details of his one-to-one conversation with Peter. Though Jesus did everything he could to warn Peter of what was going to befall him, sadly, Peter’s response was only full of bravado and (as we know) we could never fulfill what he promised.
“It’s the end of the world as we know it” sang REM many years ago, but for many people the idea of the end of the world is little more than a joke. The Bible however has a different perspective. The end of the world is a reality that we all must face. In 2 Peter 3:8-18, Peter raises some very important matters that all mankind should be aware of.
It seems that part of the false teaching that Peter was addressing in 2 Peter 3:1-7 concerned the return of Christ. It appears that the false teachers were denying that this would ever happen. In these verses Peter sought to fan into flame the hope that has always belonged to the people of God.
By writing to his readers about the dangers of false teaching, the Apostle Peter had in mind the health of the church. For not only did he write to encourage his readers in the truth, he also wrote to expose his readers to the false and ungodly lives of those who taught error. It’s these warnings that make his words all the more applicable to today’s church in the world.
When Jesus sat down in the Upper Room with his disciples in Mark 14:12-25, there was so much going on, and all of it was leading to and pointing to the cross. Yet also in the Last Supper we meet the very basis of the Lord’s Supper which also points to Him and to the cross.
In 2 Peter 2:1-10a, the apostle Peter struck hard at the false teachers who were attempting to ruin the faith and understanding of his readers. After encouraging them in the first chapter to build themselves up with the right use of knowledge, this second chapter warns them of those who make the wrong use of knowledge and of course, the need for clear and sharp discernment.
Given the circumstances of those to whom Peter wrote his second letter, it’s not hard to see that in 2 Peter 1:12-21, the apostle wrote as he did. The false teachers were undermining his authority as an appointed apostle of the Lord and also downplaying the divinity of Jesus. In these verses, Peter puts them in their place and highlights something of his own first-hand experience as an eye and earwitness of the glory of Jesus and the certainty of God’s Word.
In the next verses of 2 Peter 1:5-11, Peter builds on his introduction concerning the overwhelming grace of God, to remind his hearers that this grace demands a response. We are to grow in that grace and become more like Christ and do that so that we may be effective in our life and witness as His people.