“I love you and will see you again.” These were some of the last words my dad said to me. While almost 40 years have passed since my dad died, I still draw comfort from his last words. Knowing I was loved carried me through some very difficult times and having confidence that I would see my dad again helped me resist a myriad of teenage temptations.
If you knew your life was going to end soon, what thoughts would you like to share with others?
- Encourage your friends and family to be kind to each other?
- Write an article about a cause you’re passionate about?
- Warn as many people as possible about potential threats to the world?
In the end, it’s probably safe to say that you would convey your thoughts about what you care about most (or what matters the most to you).
When Peter (one of the twelve apostles and a close friend of Jesus) wrote his second letter to the early church from a prison near the Roman Forum (see photographs at the end of this blog), he knew that Nero was going to have him executed.
Instead of being discouraged and writing a disheartening letter, Peter:
- Encourages the church to stay put and build on its faith,
- Instructs the church to instill the qualities of love, moral excellence, and patience, and
- Directs the church to leave a sinful past behind.
What drives a person to encourage others to stand firm in the face of persecution?
As written by Peter himself:
When we apostles told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we didn’t base our message on clever myths that we made up. Rather, we witnessed his majesty with our own eyes. For example, we were eyewitnesses when he received honor and glory from God the Father and when the voice of our majestic God spoke these words to him: “This is my Son, whom I love and in whom I delight.” We heard that voice speak to him from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain. So we regard the words of the prophets as confirmed beyond all doubt. You’re doing well by paying attention to their words (2 Peter 1:16-19 GW).
In this eyewitness account, we learn that Peter heard the voice of God. In his letter to the early church, his life-changing experience reinforced his message. Peter’s life was fueled by hearing (and most importantly, by listening to) the voice of God.
So, what can we learn from the Apostle Peter’s last words?
1. Pay Attention to Prophecy
Peter writes that prophecy is “a light shining in a dark place” (2 Peter 1:19 NIV). All prophecy comes directly from God – not from the prophets. After thousands of years, we can see exactly how prophecy has been fulfilled. We can see how the life, ministry, and death of Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies. Prophecy reveals God’s plan and it also shows that God is in control.
2. Be Aware of False Prophets
Peter warned of lying religious teachers (false prophets) who want to bring division by pitting people against each other. These teachers will try to give God (and His truth) a bad name. Peter speaks to God’s anger against teachers who live by lust, compulsive sin, and self-rule. He calls them slaves of corruption and dangerous influencers. He warns that their evil ways will backfire on them. If you ever come across someone who fits Peter’s description (a false prophet), run the other way and don’t look back!
3. God Will Finish What He Started
Even right up to his death, Peter respected and embraced God. He also warned the early church that there will be a “final judgement” (when God will finish what He started) and he encouraged people to avoid distractions and stay focused on the words of the prophets.
In his letter, Peter emphasizes that no one will be able to escape the final judgement.
Before it occurs, however, people will:
- Follow their own desires,
- Mock God’s promises, and
- Forget His track record (of doing what He says He will do).
The final judgement will be unannounced. Everything people have done will be visible. Those who pass the scrutiny of judgment will witness the fulfillment of God’s plan to make everything new. God will present a new heaven and a new earth – just as He has promised.
4. Be at Peace with God
Peter concludes his letter by reminding us how God deals with sin. He instructs us to remain on guard, he counsels us to live in purity, he encourages us to grow in grace, and he urges us to be at peace with God.
While I understand that God is patiently waiting to act as He wants everyone to be saved, I look forward to the day (with great anticipation) when God fulfills His plan.
I’m grateful for Peter’s insight.
What about you?
If you would like to learn more about God’s promises, check out my book Rediscovering the Divine: Seeing God in a Whole New Way.
Location of the Ancient Roman Forum
In this photograph, you can see Capitoline Hill (left background), the Roman Forum ruins (foreground), and the church that was built over Mamertine Prison in the center of the picture (just behind The Arch of Septimus Severus).
Location of the Ancient Roman Prison (Mamertine)
In this photograph, you can see part of The Arch of Septimus Severus and the front of the church that was built over Mamertine Prison.
Very encouraging words. Even though we often go through very difficult times, we know that when we love the Lord and walk with Him and are His children, some day we will stand before Him. We will see our loved ones again…like your Dad told you. No more tears, only Joy…Thanks for sharing this excellent message !!!!