“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” -2 Peter 1:16
Myth or fairytale? The common definition of “myth” is a story which gives evidence of not being true, unlike a daily sunrise or sunset. Some scholars use “myth” as a story of ancient origins, usually involving the supernatural, and in a poetic sense, true. Be that as it may, “myth” says to most common folk today that it is akin to “fairytale.” A myth may well be an interesting story, but its veracity in the concrete, visible world is not.
Numerous people today would say that many of the stories attributed to and descriptive of Jesus Christ are mythological and that His life has been embellished. The stories of things like virgin birth, miracles, walking on water, and resurrection simply defy history and science, rather than being strictly accurate. In other words, they believe that these things did not happen as told, even if Jesus is a historic person of the first century.
They must admit this much because the ancient and modern calendar by which we have lived the last 2,000 years was based on AD (“Anno Domini”), Latin for “in the year of our Lord,” and BC for “before Christ.” The birth and life of Jesus actually divides history. So, it is impossible to say someone named Jesus of Nazareth, also known as Jesus Christ or Jesus the Messiah, never lived. History gives evidence of the fact.
Do the Scriptures tell us of a Jesus who is who He says He is, or do they errantly present a myth, even if the man Jesus is historical? Still, a scholar such as C. S. Lewis says of Him, “He is either a deluded lunatic, or He is exactly who He claimed to be: God in the flesh.” It is either/or, but He is not simply a good, ordinary man, as some portray Him. They cannot acknowledge anything supernatural.
Peter, an eyewitness, says in his second epistle that “we did not follow cleverly devised myths” in presenting Jesus, but “we witnessed His majesty.” We saw the supernatural power. There was nothing which we embellished. Our eyes beheld the glory of Christ.
Peter had no concept of how many would one day read or believe his words, but the Inspiration behind the written words knew. The Spirit of God and the Alpha and Omega knew exactly who would hear and/or read the words of 2 Peter and the words of the Old and the New Testament. God Himself ensured they would be written down for each person who would one day believe what they heard or what they read. They received them, not as cleverly devised myths but as true because of the powerful witness of Christ Jesus.
Where are you? Did Jesus make the blind see, the lame walk, the leprous clean? Did He feed well over 5,000 with two fish and five loaves of bread? Was Mary a virgin impregnated by the Spirit of God? Did angels fill the sky singing about His birth? Did Jesus walk out of His tomb after being put to death on the cross? Does He live today and reign over His creation? Does He desire a close, intimate fellowship with you?
Think now: Do you, a modern, science-attesting man or woman, believe all this about Him? Can you believe this when you didn’t observe or believe such could happen? If you cannot, then how can you believe that Jesus has the power to forgive your sins, or that He can actually affect your eternal salvation, or that in the twinkling of your eye you will move from your last breath to Paradise? Is this truly your personal unexcused testimony?
Peter would not have argued that he was not following cleverly devised myths if there were not many who claimed such. There are a lot of people in one of two categories today: one, they simply state they do not believe, or, two, they basically ignore it. The ignorers cannot be bothered whether any of it is true or false; it makes no difference to them. This is intellectual, purposeful lethargy about the true fate of their souls.
Oh, they are intent about life, but it is a life where the most important one in it is them. They are in reality their own god. They may not say as much, but this is their practice and their worldview; it is blindness. As a believer, I do not understand blindness. I cannot imagine how it so fully stupefies, but it does. Sin blinds. Scales stretch over eyes and over minds. Truth does not get through.
You and I yearn to do something about this. We pray our lives will move them to at least inquire. We hope our prayers for them will be answered. We wish our words could penetrate minds and hearts.
However, apart from the power of the Spirit, we are powerless. Unfortunately, it is like trying to tell them a bridge is wiped out down a dark road when they do not want to believe you, and they race toward the fatal chasm as though you are not telling them the truth.
You cannot ever give up, despite many attempts. You are to persevere to the end, all the while committing them to the hands of God. “Whosoever will may come” always holds true. The Good Shepherd knows His sheep, and He laid down His life for them. You who believe are blessed that no one has the power to pluck you out of His hand.
“I know not how this saving faith He did to me impart, nor how believing in His Word wrought peace within my heart, but I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.”
(Second verse of Daniel Whittle’s hymn, “I Know Whom I Have Believed,” 1883)