Many trials in court are decided on a balance of probabilities: there is no single piece of evidence which alone can prove the case one way or the other. And many people think that is true about religion. They respect sacred writings, but flavour them with the interpretations of scholars, community traditions and pragmatic cultural adaptations. This has happened to Christianity too; and when it does, the gospel becomes diluted and the holiness of God is obscured.
But the truth of Christianity is not a balance of probabilities, but relies on one single piece of evidence, the integrity of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Although the prophetic writing of the Old Testament suffered from many different interpretations, Peter discovered that Jesus was the key to make sense of what seemed mysterious. The transfiguration of Jesus (Mark 9:2-13), appearing with Moses and Elijah brought it all together for Peter; and the Father's voice affirming Jesus left him in no doubt. Today, Jesus illuminates the entire Bible, and brings God's Word to life. He does not make the Old Testament less valuable: in fact, it is only through the lens of His perfect life and sacrificial death that we can see the true value of all the prophets taught.
So, as God said on the transfiguration mountain, we must pay attention to Jesus (Mark 9:7). Then we will have confidence to see where we are going, and hold a steady course - even when the darkness closes in around us. Peter knew that would soon happen to his readers, and urged them to hold tightly on to Jesus; because He is the pivotal key to living a life of faith which pleases God. Likewise today: do not get seduced by strange teaching which denies what Jesus said and did: even if your friends and colleagues think you should. Stay away from that, as you would from a deadly plague. Keep with Jesus, and let Him lead you out of the darkness.
© Dr Paul Adams