In recent years, two scenes from the Gospels keep grabbing my attention: Jesus' baptism and Jesus' transfiguration. In both instances God the Father speaks to Jesus or about Jesus (it may be the only time we hear God the Father speaking directly about Jesus). In both cases, God proclaims (and claims) Jesus as God's very own, "Beloved" Son. God the Father further announces that he is "well pleased" with Jesus. On the second occasion - the Transfiguration - God goes on to command us (the disciples) to "Listen to him."
Listen to Jesus.
It seems like such a fundamental and important part of what it means to be a Christian. The very idea of us being Christians is that we are taking our cues and directions from Jesus - that he is both our Lord and our Teacher. And, yet, I have noticed within myself that I don't really do this that often. Yes, even pastors struggle with this. It is much easier to be swayed by the many other voices that we encounter on a daily basis - to listen and be directed by what we hear from our boss, or the news, even our well meaning friends and family. Yet, despite all of this, God's command is that we "listen to him."
This has prompted me in recent weeks to go back to one of the places where Jesus speaks most clearly and most directly to us as his disciples. I am speaking of the Sermon on the Mount. Surprisingly, in all of my years of being Jesus' disciple, this is really the first time I've listened to what Jesus said in that sermon.
I am deeply loving sitting at Jesus' feet, but - at the same time - truly listening to him has challenged me to go deeper and to become - once again - Jesus' disciple.