Listen to Him! Part Three

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 “rescue” from the cross?
Third and finally, we do everything we can to avoid SUFFERING.
There’s a reason Peter wanted to build tents on top of the mountain. He didn’t want to come back down. Life was easier up there. Life was more glorious up there. Life was less stressful up there.
There’s a reason Peter rebuked Jesus when he heard Him speak of arrest and beating and crucifixion. A Messiah shouldn’t have to do that. Following a Messiah who suffers might mean the one following will also have to suffer.
A life that includes the blessing of God means no suffering, right?
A life that is ruled by God’s presence means mountaintop experiences all the time, right?
Someone who undergoes pain and hard circumstances must be out of God’s will, right?
We have a difficult time listening to what Jesus says because we assume suffering is not part of the plan. We assume pain is the absence of God and His ways. We assume that “in this world we will NOT have trouble.”
But the command of the Father from the cloud on the mountain was simply, yet sternly: LISTEN TO JESUS! In particular as it relates to His talk of suffering and death and resurrection.
Following Jesus means following Him into real life. Following Jesus means trouble and pain and suffering and hardship will come. Following Jesus means taking up a cross. Following Jesus means knowing He is with you in it and believing this isn’t all there is. Following Jesus means trusting that He leads you into and will be waiting for you in the teeth of hard.
You know what was waiting for Jesus, Peter, James, and John when they came down the mountain? Child demon possession. A desperate father. Arguing disciples. Frustration. Anger. Anxiety. (See Mark 9:14-29)
In other words, real life.
On the mountain, Jesus pulled back the curtain to let the guys see His glory to know that life and hard and pain and frustration was all part of it. It wouldn’t be all. The best was yet to come. But suffering and death had to happen for a resurrection. “No pain, no gain” so to speak.
Be honest with yourself. Most of the time, life stinks. But lean into that. It’s in the stinky moments of life when Jesus seems to be most near. It’s right and dangerous to sing, “Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord.” Why? Because He will draw you to His “precious bleeding side.” Suffering. It’s where He tends to meet us most intimately.
Sure. No one wanted to go down the mountain. No one wants to leave a mountaintop experience. No one likes the last day of vacation. But the point was (is!) to listen. No suffering and death, no resurrection. No resurrection, no redemption. No redemption, no forgiveness. No forgiveness, no eternal life. In this world followers of Jesus will have trouble. But take heart, Christian. He has overcome.

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