Originally posted Oct. 3, 2012, at The Heart of a Pastor. Republished with permission of the author.
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:16-21 NIV).
I was asked one time by a family member: “How do you come up with all those sermons?” (He was amazed that for as long as I had been a pastor I could still come up with a sermon each and every week.)
My response: “God.“
Family member: “Yes, I know that, but how do you write one every week?“
My response: “God.“
I could tell he wasn’t getting the answer he either wanted or expected as the conversation quickly shifted to another person and another topic.
Peter here is saying the same thing. He and the rest of the apostles are not making this message of Jesus up.
It did not come from clever arguments.
It did not come from misdirection.
It did not come from witty one-liners.
The message of the gospel came from their eyewitness experience. But not only should people rely on the apostles’ eyewitness experience of Jesus but on the prophetic word itself that comes from Jesus.
I am not an actual eyewitness of Jesus, but I have met him. I do know him. I do have a relationship with him. So I share and proclaim what I know. But even more than that, the Holy Spirit speaks this prophetic word through me. It is not me who “comes up with these sermons” but rather they are inspired by the Holy Spirit (some weeks I listen better than others). I know this to be true because I am NOT a good writer, preacher or speaker and if it were left up to me I would surely bring it all to ruin.
You see — what we share with others, as Christians, is the prophetic word that has been passed down to all who believe. We share what we know. We share what Jesus said. And the word we hear from the Holy Spirit we would do well to listen to. Why?
This word is life.
So preaching (whether it is the pastor or a lay person sharing their faith) is not about trying to come up with a clever message but about trusting the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the prophetic word that needs to be proclaimed. If you know Jesus then you know his word, and, therefore, there is nothing to make up. Share what you know, trusting the Holy Spirit.
So just listen and pay attention to Jesus’ word of life — and let the words flow.
Find a link to Eric Hullstrom’s entry on the blog The Heart of a Pastor at Lutheran Blogs.