Crazy to say, but for most who looked on the Savior, there wasn’t much to behold. Though in Him dwelt the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form (Col. 2:9), He wasn’t much to look at. Isaiah said that would be the case:
. . . He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. (Isaiah 53:2b ESV)
But though that was true for most, it wasn’t true for all. And I’m not thinking about those who with the eyes of faith beheld His beauty. Those, who through the life-giving illumination of the Spirit, believed that Jesus was worthy of worship. No, I’m noodling on Peter & Co. this morning and what they saw. For they were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
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. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with Him on the holy mountain.
(2Peter 1:16-18 ESV)
Peter called it “the holy mountain.” We refer to it most often as the Mount of Transfiguration–the place where Jesus took Peter, James, and John and allowed them a sneak preview of how the King would appear one day in His kingdom. And in a word, Peter says, it was majesty.
Magnificence. Greatness. Visible splendor attesting to immeasurable power.
He who had made Himself nothing, divesting Himself of His heavenly glory in order to accomplish His earthly mission (Php. 2:6-7), for a brief time removed the pauper’s coat of human flesh and again stood in the glory that was His as God, fully God. His face shone like the sun. His clothes radiated unrestrained light. And the reminder of His eternal reign was manifest as He conferred with Moses and Elijah (Matt. 17:1-5). And Peter declares, “We were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”
It was life changing. It was life defining. So much so that, even at the end of his life, the faithful apostle sought to stir up weary pilgrims by “way of reminder” (2Pet. 1:13). Wanting them to be able to recall at any time the “power and coming” of the Lord Jesus Christ. That it was not some cleverly devised myth. Nor some make you feel good fable, nor some flakey Hallmark induced hope. But they had seen the majesty. And the majesty would come.
Never been on a cloud-covered mountain. Never heard a voice bellow from behind heaven’s curtain. Can’t say I’m an eyewitness. But also can’t say I’ve never seen His majesty.
I’ve beheld His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, clearly seen since the creation of the world in the things He has made (Rom. 1:20). I’ve experienced firsthand His life-giving power, having been made alive to God though once dead in trespass and sin (Eph. 2:1-5). I’ve taken in the unworldly love and grace of God as I lingered at the foot of the cross and heard the Son whisper, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing” (Lk. 23:34). I’ve wondered at the empty tomb and known, deep within, that He is alive. I’ve sensed His abiding glory through the indwelling presence of His Spirit.
And . . . I have Peter’s inspired testimony. His reminder, that he and James and John were eyewitness.
Eyewitnesses of His majesty. A majesty they saw. A majesty which we will all see.
Soon and very soon.
By His grace. For His glory.