March 1, 2011

Listen to Him

The pages of the Hebrew Scriptures are filled with the voice of God. He speaks directly to Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and more. The prophets hear his voice and act as his mouthpiece. The angels do his bidding and sing his praises. We hear his voice a lot in the Old Testament.

With the Incarnation of Jesus, however, the voice of God seems to move to the background. No longer do we need the booming voice from heaven or the still small voice in the silence because we have God with us, Immanuel.

It seems to me, then, that after the birth of Jesus, when God does speak, when his voice rains down from heaven, we should really pay attention to what he is saying. Take, for instance, the Transfiguration scene. Jesus, Peter, James, and John are on the holy mountain when Elijah and Moses come to join them. As if that wasn't enough, the very voice of God speaks from the midst of the cloud, "This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!"

That last bit caught my attention today. Listen to [Jesus]!

Jesus had a lot to say in the course of his ministry. He talked a lot about the Kingdom of God, what it looks like, how it is lived. He talked a lot about money, how we should use it. He talked a lot about the poor, the widows, and the orphans. But I'm afraid that most of us were taught not to listen to Jesus and his message of freedom. As a preacher, I realize how hard it is to share freedom with people, it is so much easier to list off the rules of Paul instead. It is a whole lot easier to create a new Law rather than figure out how to live out The Law in its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Drawing boundary lines is a whole lot easier than risking to open your arms wide.

But to do those things. To limit the Gospel. To define who's in and who's out. To make up a new Law is to do a great disservice. Not only are we not listening to Jesus, but we are ignoring God the Father while we're at it. That, at least in my humble opinion, is a whole lot more dangerous than any other error one might make in life. So then, dear reader, let's covenant together this day that we will strive to follow God's will and listen to Jesus.

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