There are stories that we hear as children that, at the time, we may or may not know are not real, but they enthrall us. If you think of Peter Pan, the story of a boy who is able to fly over Neverland, fighting the evil Captain Hook, and leading the Lost Boys to victory, you find a great story that any one of us would like to relate to. Good vs. evil. A love story with Wendy. Even the ability to fly with magic pixie dust… How great is that?
Or consider Santa Claus. How cool it is that there is someone who packs up a sleigh, flies it a light speed all over the world with flying reindeer, only to deliver toys to young boys and girls who will be excited to wake up the next morning.
In our post-Christian western culture, I think that we often have the tendency to look back to the stories that we heard about Jesus, either in church as we were growing up or in other places, in a similar way. We know that they should be true, but we can’t really put our finger on them, so it is easy to discount them. The facts become fuzzy and the reality, not to mention the implications of the reality, become difficult to comprehend.
And therefore, there are many that dismiss what they have heard and move on with the rest of their lives.
But these aren’t the stories of Peter Pan. These aren’t the stories of Santa Claus.
Peter, who was Jesus’s disciple and who became an apostle 2000 years ago, said this:
For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.2 Peter 1:16-18
Peter is saying that the disciples didn’t create, nor listen to stories that someone else told. He says, in summary:
We were there.
We saw it.
And I’m telling you, this is for real.
Imagine what it would mean if there was a God who created you and me and everything that we see around us.
Imagine what it would mean if God decided to come in human form to live amongst his people.
Imagine if God himself spoke from heaven, declaring and confirming that this man, Jesus Christ, was actually divine. That he came from a spiritual kingdom that reins over all other kingdoms.
Imagine that he came to pay a ransom price of blood specifically for each of us, to win us back to be with God once again.
If that were true, it would change everything about our lives. It would change all of the priorities of our lives. We would no longer be so concerned about our positions of power or how much money we made. We would want to concern ourselves with knowing this One that came seeking us. We would want to align ourselves with him and everything that he says.
But we don’t need to imagine. Peter is clear: We were there.
And he isn’t the only one. There are many just like him. They aren’t making up Peter Pan and Santa Claus stories. These are facts that they are telling us. Let us live in the true story that God has told and that he is continuing to tell in our time, even today.