16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
In any court case where a person is being tried, the most valuable evidence is an eyewitness testimony. Why? Because the person was there and saw the event. The only way an attorney can disqualify the eyewitness is if they can prove they weren't there, or the person is lying.
So as Peter continues to encourage the early church to stay in faith until Jesus returns, he uses this method. He says "we were eyewitnesses of his majesty". We, meaning Peter and the other apostles, James and John. And by the way, he references the event we know as the Transfiguration. This is where the three of them saw Jesus in all His glory. These three had this great privilege, And they never forgot it.
And it was from the eyewitness testimonies of the apostles, including the apostle Paul, that the early church was born. As Peter and Paul preached their eyewitness story of Jesus crucified and risen from the dead, Christianity was born. Notice Christianity is a historical religion, based on real people with real experiences with Jesus. This is why Peter says, "we did not follow cleverly devised stories." The followed the truth of what they experienced living with Jesus for three years. And, seeing him crucified and risen from the dead.
So how do we know their testimony is true? Although we can't literally prove it, historians even outside the Christian faith reported these men were followers of Jesus. So the only other possibility is that they made up the story and/or they were delusional. So what is the biggest evidence for us to determine they weren't lying? People rarely die for the truth, but it is a virtual impossibility that someone would die for something they knew was a lie.
So in the end, we have the same choice as those who first heard the Gospel. Do we believe in their eyewitness testimony? What evidence do we have for not believing their testimony? Here is something we have that the 1st century Christians did not have. We have thousands of those who have received the testimony through the faithful transmission of the bible and come to faith in Jesus. And some of them had faith in what they believed so strongly they died for their faith too.
And then we have the testimonies of millions of believers, who died trusting that Jesus is the Messiah. Their lives are also a testimony to the truth that Jesus was and is the Son of God. Do you believe this? If not, on what evidence are you basing a decision that could effect where you spend eternity? Are there any eyewitnesses that Jesus didn't die and rise from the dead, proving Himself to be the Son of God? Where are they?
I urge you to take this matter seriously. At the very least examine this evidence for yourself and render your own verdict. After all, what do you have to lose? Nothing! What do you have to gain? Coming into a relationship with the living God, who loved you so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for you so that you might have eternal life!!!