Listen to Him! Part One
“A cloud appeared, overshadowing them, and a voice came from the cloud: ‘This is my beloved Son; listen to him!'” (Mark 9:7)
Moses. Elijah. A transfigured Jesus.
A mountain. A cloud.
James. John. A terrified, talking Peter (Mark 9:2-6).
A voice with a command: Listen to Jesus.
Earlier in the week, Peter rebuked Jesus to quickly be rebuked stronger by Jesus (Mark 8:32-33). Peter didn’t want to listen. Peter couldn’t imagine a Messiah being arrested, beaten, crucified, buried. “Rising from the dead” had no categories in his brain (Mark 9:10).
Peter, like all of us, didn’t want Jesus to go to the cross. Peter, like all of us, tried to get Him off. Peter, like all of us, do everything we can to earn status. We can do it better, we think, “thank you very much.” But God said to do ONE THING when it comes to approaching Him. When it comes to being “right” with Him, there is ONE THING we must do: listen to Jesus. In particular, His talk about arrest, suffering, death, burial, and resurrection (Mark 8:31).
Why do we have such a hard time listening?
Why do we have such a difficult time really hearing what Jesus came to do?
Why do we want to keep Jesus from going to, or try to “rescue” Jesus from the cross?
One reason is our Church Background.
We either grew up in a church that deliberately pointed us away from Jesus’ sufficient death, burial, and resurrection; or we grew up thinking “going to church” or “being religious” was the ticket to getting God to like us. Either way, we did stuff to buffer the chasm that exists between a holy God and sinful man. We tried to earn points. We thought “our way” was the right way. Sure, we believed Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection was a big deal. Maybe even central. But our hearts have been all about getting points to impress Him. God wants us to throw all of that out. Too much pressure. Too much of a burden. Too much emphasis away from the sufficient cross and empty tomb.
Can you imagine what Peter, James, and John were thinking when, looking at the transfigured Jesus, Moses, and Elijah? Their religious heritage right before their eyes! Moses, the law. Elijah, the prophets. Moses, Mt. Sinai. Elijah, Mt. Carmel. Everything they had ever known about religion, right in front of their faces. Just about the time they were to work on tents so they could hang out a while, a cloud envelopes them and the Divine Voice says, “Listen to Jesus!” Translation: “Stop relying on what you’ve heard and done up until this point! Listen to what Jesus is saying to you!” Or, to put it another way: The single and only buffer that can bridge the gap between us and God is Jesus. His life. His death. His burial. His resurrection.
Anything or anyone else that attempts to connect you with God is Satanic. I repeat: Anything. Any work. Any religious deed. Any church activity or record of church attendance. Anything that puts pressure and glory on you and your effort to get to God is Satanic (Mark 8:33).
Breathe. Relax. Trust. Believe.
Listen to him.