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Lesson 10: Prophecy and Scripture *

Introduction: Two weeks ago we discussed why we can have confidence that Jesus is God. This week Peter returns to this topic. Why? Does it seem odd to you that Peter should spend so much time proving his belief in Jesus? It might seem odd thousands of years later, but at the time, this was the key to conversion - making the case that Jesus, a man who lived on earth and who was crucified by the authorities, was also fully God. It still is the central issue in bringing nonbelievers to faith. Let's explore Peter's arguments to bolster our faith today and learn how we can best share Jesus!

  1. The Voice


    1. Read 2 Peter 1:16. Recall our discussion of the Da Vinci Code? We discussed whether the gospels were "invented" stories about the divinity of Jesus. We also learned that Peter was a strong proponent of the divinity of Jesus. Thus, we might ask the same thing about Peter, did he invent these stories? What does Peter write about invented stories about Jesus? (He denies that he was misled by clever stories. Clearly, Peter admits this is an issue, but he thinks that people will believe that he was misled, not that he is misleading others.)


      1. What does that say about Peter's state of mind about misleading others? (It has not crossed his mind that people would think that he is making this up. Apparently, no one suggested that to him.)


      2. How does Peter refute the idea that he was misled by clever stories? (He says he did not get this information second-hand. No, he was an eye-witness to the majesty of Jesus.)


    2. Read 2 Peter 1:17 and Matthew 17:4-5. Who does Peter say endorsed the divinity of Jesus? (God the Father. Peter heard it!)


      1. Notice the timing in Matthew 17:5. God interrupted Peter when He called Jesus His Son. Peter remembers the interruption!


      2. Let's read the context. Read Matthew 17:1-6. If you were Peter, and were arguing for the divinity of Jesus, would you simply say, I heard "this voice ... from heaven?" (No! I would tell the entire amazing story. It would promote Jesus and it would promote me!)


        1. What do we learn from the fact that Peter refrains from telling this entire story? (Clearly, Peter is not exaggerating or overstating the proof for Jesus.)


    3. Read 2 Peter 1:18. Does Peter have others who will corroborate his story? (He says "We ourselves heard this voice." We learned from Matthew 17 that James and John were also there.)


    4. Assume you were a lawyer organizing Peter's proof. What would you say are the important points of proof? (Peter both heard and saw Jesus' majesty. He heard the voice of God claiming Jesus was His Son. God endorsed what Jesus was doing. Peter has corroborating witnesses. The way Peter relays the story seems truthful truth. He refrains from exaggerating and stating details that would bolster his own reputation.)


  2. The Prophecy.


    1. Read 2 Peter 1:19. What other proof does Peter assert for the divinity of Jesus? (The prophets of the Old Testament.)


    2. Let's look at some of these. Read Psalms 22:1 and Psalms 22:16-18. Does this sound familiar to you? (Read Matthew 27:37-46 and Luke 24:36-39. It was typical that the person crucified was nailed to the cross through the hands and feet. Jesus told His followers to look at His hands and feet because they showed his crucifixion scars.)


    3. Read Zechariah 12:10, Isaiah 53:5, and Isaiah 53:10. How do these forecast what happened to Jesus at the cross? (I've recited just a few of the prophecies that point to the life of Jesus.)


    4. Look again at 2 Peter 1:19, but this time let's focus on the second part of the text. What analogy does Peter make to our understanding of how the prophecies forecast the life of Jesus? (He compares it to sunrise.)


      1. How is that an apt comparison? (As people studied the prophecies, and compared them with the recorded events of Jesus' life, their understanding kept growing and growing. Finally, they could "see" how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies and how He fulfilled the Old Testament sacrificial system.)


    5. Read 2 Peter 1:20-21. Peter is engaged in an argument about Jesus being the Messiah. What argument is he countering here? (The idea that the Old Testament prophecies were simply the ideas of humans. Peter tells us that the Holy Spirit placed these prophecies in the minds of the prophets.)


      1. Why is this point important? (It shows that the coming of Jesus was a divine plan. Hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth as a human, God inspired prophets to write about Jesus' coming and His death.)


      2. Notice the means by which the Old Testament prophecies were written. Does this indicate that the Holy Spirit dictated the words of the prophecies? (Peter writes about the "will of men." He seems to tell us that the Holy Spirit operated on the prophet's "will." They then wrote ("spoke") as the Holy Spirit "carried along" their will.)


    6. Read 2 Timothy 3:14-15. This is Paul writing to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:1-2). On what basis does Paul say that Timothy should continue in the faith? (The credibility of those who have taught him, the gospel decisions he has made, and what he reads in the Bible.)


      1. Do you see the similarities in the arguments for belief in Jesus made by both Peter and Paul?


    7. Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17. "God-breathed" is a very unusual term. What do you think it means? (Barnes' Notes translates the idea as "breathing upon, or breathing into the soul.")


      1. Read Genesis 2:7. Does this help you to better understand the expression that the Scripture is "God-breathed?" (It does for me. God animated Adam with His breath. He became alive with God's breath. The Scripture is animated with the Spirit of God. I don't think that God dictated the Bible and the writers simply wrote down what God said. Rather, I think the writers of the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit. The thoughts of God came alive as He breathed through the writers the text of the Scripture.)


      2. Now, let's circle back to 2 Peter 1:21 and re-read it. How does this confirm Peter's argument that prophecy is a reason to believe that Jesus is God? (Those prophecies originated in the power of God. Just as God gave Adam life, so God gives life to the prophecies pointing to Jesus.)


    8. Friend, are you convinced about Jesus? Do you believe that He was sent from God, became a man, lived and died to take away our sins, and now has returned to His Father in heaven to be Ruler over all?


  3. Next week: False Teachers.
* Copr. 2017, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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