Peter references his personal experiences with Jesus in reminding the community of the power of God’s prophetic promises.
12. I intend to always remind you about these things, although you already know it and have been confirmed in the truth presented to you.
13. But I consider, in so far as I am in this temporary dwelling, to stimulate your memory.
14. I know that leaving this body is imminent, just as our Lord Jesus showed me.
15. But I will be diligent that even after I make my departure you will have all these things in memory.
16. For we are not following or concocting clever myths. We made know to you the power and presence of our Lord Messiah Jesus. We have been made spectators of his majesty.
17. For he received honor and glory when the voice from Father God went out to him by such majestic glory, ‘This is my dear son, in whom I approve.’
18. We ourselves heard this voice from heaven, when we were on the holy mountain because he brought us with him.
19. So we have the prophetic message confirmed. You do well to heed it as a hope in a gloomy place until the day should dawn and the morning star arises in your hearts.
20. Know this first, prophetic scripture is not open to personal interpretation.
21. For prophecy did not come from the will of men, but they were moved to speak by the Holy Spirit from God to men.
Peter is feeling death on his doorstep. He refers to his body as a ‘temporary dwelling’ which calls to mind the tabernacle. He doubles down on that with reference to his departure, or exodus. His death is coming, and he wants to strengthen them in what he knows to be true.
His memory of the transfiguration, recorded in all three synoptic gospels (Mark 9:2-8), is apocalyptic in the sense Peter remembers the presence of God’s voice breaking through and speaking about Jesus. But he tempers this with a caution in verse 20: you can’t make it too personal.
Heed the warning. Yes, we all talk about what Jesus means to me, what Christmas means to me, or what I get out of the text and there is value to that. However, the biblical writers, and for Peter this is the Old Testament, are conveying God’s words not people’s ideas. My sense is Peter is putting himself and his testimony of Jesus in this category. His readers can know that Jesus is God’s son because Peter is telling them what happened, and the prophets of old confirm it. Our faith is not just rooted in experience, but guided by the written record of God reaching out to human beings.
Remember that the next time you skip over Leviticus or daydream through the prophet Amos.