Where Is Your Faith Rooted?

Bible Readings for the day: Daniel 2:24-3:12, 2 Peter 1:1-21, Psalm 135:1-12
Meditational Reading: 2 Peter 1:16-21
16 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.
17 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,”
18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.
19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,
20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.
21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Where is your faith rooted? Many believers in the Lord Jesus root there faith in a feeling. They rooted in the good feeling they receive from being saved. I have a good feeling when thinking about my eternal life, given to me as a free gift, in Jesus my Savior. But that’s not where my faith is rooted.

Where is your faith rooted? Some people who think they are believers anchor their faith in family connections. Early on in my ministry I stopped by a bait shop to buy night crawlers (at that time I was an avid bass fisherman). After a few visits one of the owners asked me what church I belonged to. I told him that I was the pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Suffield (Connecticut). He said, “Lutheran. We’re all Lutherans here.” I asked him which church he attended. He said, “I said that we’re Lutherans, not that we go to church. My mother was a Lutheran so I am a Lutheran.” In case you didn’t know it, I have some bad news for you: It doesn’t work that way!

Where is your faith rooted? Peter, in the meditational reading, tells us where his faith is rooted. “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.” (vv.16-18)

Peter’s message, Peter’s faith, Peter’s proclamation is not rooted in idle speculation; it is not rooted in stories from a time long ago (although our faith is!). Peter’s faith is rooted in history and historical occurrences. Jesus’ Transfiguration made a mighty impact upon Peter; on the holy mountain he saw the glory of God shine forth from Jesus’ very being and he heard (physically heard) God the Father’s vocal proclamation about Jesus, his “beloved Son, with whom he is well pleased.” On that holy mountain Moses and Elijah (the epitome of the Law and the Prophets) appeared and spoke to Jesus. Luke(9:31) tells us that they spoke of his “exodus” (the Greek word we translate as “departure”) in Jerusalem. Peter’s faith is rooted in historical events: Jesus’ transfiguration, which prepared the disciples for Good Friday, Easter Sunday, the Ascension. The Christian faith is rooted in history; our faith is rooted in history: Jesus lived, Jesus died for our sins on the cross, Jesus rose on the third day as God the Father’s proof to us that our sins are indeed forgiven and we are in a new and right relationship with him.

And Peter reminds us that our faith is anchored in God’s promises, made in the Old Testament (and confirmed in the New): “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (vv.19-21) The prophetic word Peter writes of is the Old Testament (remember, the New Testament was in the process of being written as Peter wrote — part of it!!). In the Old Testament God the Holy Trinity promises to send the Savior who would die for the sins of the world. Peter’s faith is rooted in that reality. And our faith should be rooted there too.

God has given us his witnesses, the prophets and apostles, who saw the glory of God and communicate that glory to us! The Christian faith is rooted in the historic events of Jesus’ birth, his life, his death, his resurrection. It is rooted in the prophetic and apostolic witness to those events. Our faith is rooted in history for, as Paul tells us, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1st Corinthians 15:17-20)

All of today’s readings remind us that our God is not an impersonal force that somehow binds the universe together. But our God is the God who is active and involved in the life (and lives) of his people. He is the God of history who acts in history to save his people and make them his own. Our faith is rooted in God and what he did for us — and what he did for us are historical events. That is why our faith is rooted in history; the history of God at work in our world.

A prayer: Lord God, heavenly Father, you have left us with your witness as to what you did for us to make us your own. You left us with the witness of your voice from the majestic cloud; you left us with the witness of your prophets in the Old Testament; you left us with the witness of your apostles and evangelists in the New Testament. Thank you for acting in history to bring us to yourself. Keep us in the true Faith that is anchored in you and your mighty acts which saved (and save) us. Thank you for your witness which brings us to faith and keep us in the Faith. Thank you, through Jesus, your Son, my Savior. Amen!

The Rev. Dr. Jim Kerner is a retired pastor in the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod. He is the Word and Sacrament pastor for Zion Lutheran Church, Bridgeport, CT on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month and he preaches when needed at other churches.

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