Would you stand there unaffected? Would you run away? Or would you fall on your knees?
A few highly blessed humans have seen Jesus Christ in glory. And when they did, they not only fell on their knees, they fell on their faces.
Peter, James, and John: “While [Jesus] was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!’ And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid” (Matt. 17:5–6 NKJV).
Saul of Tarsus: “As [Saul] journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground…” (Acts. 9:3 NKJV).
John on Patmos: “Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me…. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead” (Rev. 1:12, 17 NKJV).
But here’s a question: What happens next? If Jesus appeared to you in the fullness of his glory, and you fell to the ground, what would you do afterward? How would you be affected long-term? How would you live? What would you do and say?
Here’s what’s interesting about all these stories. Every time Jesus appears in glory, and people fall to the ground, Jesus then tells them to do something: Get up.
Jesus to Peter, James, and John: “Arise” (Matt. 17:7 NKJV).
Jesus to Saul: “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:6 NKJV).
Jesus to John: “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place….” (Rev. 4:1 NKJV).
After we fall down, Jesus says: Get up—it’s time to go to work!
In the letter we call 2 Peter, the disciple Simon Peter writes about his personal experience as an eyewitness of Jesus’ majesty (2 Peter 1:16 NKJV). Peter saw Jesus transfigured in glory. But Peter also came to understand that Jesus didn’t just come to dazzle us like lightning. He came to draw near to us, to change us.
So what does Simon Peter have to say to us after he’d seen the majesty of Jesus? In the same letter, 2 Peter, the disciple writes:
“…as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:3–8 NKJV).
In other words: Get up. It’s time to go to work.
Andy Nash is an author, professor, and pastor who leads summer study tours to Israel.
Sometimes you just need a classic! With the NKJV Classic Verse-style, Center-column Reference Bible from Thomas Nelson, you get the full text of the Holy Bible in the trustworthy New King James Version, presented in a tried-and-true format: classic verse-style Scripture layout for easy navigation and more than 72,000 cross-references conveniently located in the center column.
The apostle Peter offers a profound summary of our identity in Christ in 1 Peter 2:9-10. In the process, he uncovers a wellspring of hope for everyone who follows Christ.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
In the first place, no one can appreciate the light like those who have been in darkness. The apostle Paul encourages to forget “those things which are behind” (Philippians 3:13). But sometimes a backward glance can help us appreciate just how far we’ve come.
How has your life changed since you gave it to Christ? What differences do you see in yourself? What differences do other people notice? By taking measure of what God already has done in your life, you can light the spark of hope as to what your future holds.
In the second place, Peter was writing to a church that was being persecuted. They had little obvious reason to hope. Yet Peter is firm in his assurance that God will fully equip His own to face opposition and challenges. When our strength and endurance falters, God will renew us. He will re-energize us. He will give us what we need to stand strong and thrive.
In the third place, our very calling is hopeful in nature. According to Peter, our job is to “proclaim the praises” of God—to worship Him with everything we’ve got. In order to do that, however, we need to understand God, to get a sense of who He is and what He’s done.
We need to take a fresh look at His creation, the wonders and intricacies of His loving design. We need to immerse ourselves in the stories and passages of the Bible that reveal aspects of God’s nature and detail His awe-inspiring works. We need to talk to others about God’s work in their lives. We need to read the words of the psalmists and others who committed themselves to worship—men and women who were inspired to write words like this:
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
The more we learn about what God has done, the more we understand about what He’s capable of. How He brings ultimate good from even the worst circumstances. The more we immerse ourselves in the business of worship, the more hope we will ultimately find.
The FIRST EVER Orthodox Study Bible presents the Bible of the early church and the church of the early Bible.
Orthodox Christianity is the face of ancient Christianity to the modern world and embraces the second largest body of Christians in the world. In this first-of-its-kind study Bible, the Bible is presented with commentary from the ancient Christian perspective that speaks to those Christians who seek a deeper experience of the roots of their faith.
The New King James Study Bible shines a spotlight on the apostle Paul’s call for fellowship and unity in his letters to the Corinthian church. This timely emphasis resonates powerfully in a culture so full of division and entrenched opposition.
A closer look at the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians reveals three key principles we need to understand as we work to build harmony and unity in our relationships—especially in our relationships with other believers.
The apostle Peter warns us that our enemy “the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Think of disunity as his tenderizer; it makes the devouring easier.
The body of Christ, working together, is a force to be reckoned with—and a threat to our enemy. Individually, however, the various parts of that body are limited and ineffective. We’re vulnerable to attack.
That’s why Paul made such an urgent plea to the Corinthians:
In 1 Corinthians 1:4–9, Paul reminds the Corinthian believers of the experiences they shared and the blessings they enjoyed together—things that should have united them and given them a common purpose. They received the grace of Christ. They were enriched spiritually by some of the most prominent teachers of the day.
The fact that the church still found a reason to splinter underscores just how fragile and difficult unity can be. Unity often calls for us to set aside our personal preferences and opinions for the greater good of the group. That’s a tall order
When you factor in personality clashes and differing approaches to conflict, the level of difficulty increases further. Unity is a fragile thing—something that must be monitored closely, discussed frequently, and adjusted proactively.
It’s no coincidence that the disunity in the Corinthian church had its roots in issues of leadership. According to Paul, some Corinthian believers declared their loyalty to him; others declared their loyalty to Apollos and Cephas (Peter).
Many people have an affinity for strong leaders. Under the right circumstances, some are even willing to suspend their own judgment in service to a leader. That’s why the principle of “to whom much is given, much is expected” is threaded into the concept of Christian leadership. Christian leaders are the first line of defense against disunity. Their words must unify, not divide.
Paul emphasizes the importance of unity by puncturing the pretensions of leadership. According to him, the names of the individual messengers—Apollos, Peter, and even Paul—are ultimately unimportant. All that matters is the name of the one whose message they are delivering: Jesus Christ. He is our common ground. He is the unshakable foundation on which we can build unity.
This commentary is from the New King James Study Bible. With more than 2 million copies sold, it’s no secret that the NKJV Study Bible is a reliable guide for your journey into God’s Word. This Bible provides a complete resource for study, including thousands of notes, articles, extensive cross-references, and features contributed by top evangelical scholars.