“While [Peter] was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”
This scene is during Jesus’ transfiguration in Matthew 17. As I meditated on this section recently I was struck by the opening prepositional phrase: “while Peter was still speaking.” Dumbfounded by the transfiguration, Peter rashly starts to blabber about building some buildings. However, as Peter is still speaking, God breaks through the heavens to repeat what he said at Jesus’ baptism.
This is my Son,
My Beloved Son,
with Him I am well pleased.
Incapsulated in this blessing is the deep longing all of us have. We want to be-loved; we want to please our heavenly Father. We long to know the answer to the persistent question: “Am I good enough?” In this blessing, we discover the answer—that only through Christ we are good enough. So God reiterates the baptismal blessing he had given.
This time, however, God includes a command: LISTEN TO HIM.
The contrast is stark. Peter is babbling about some strategic plan he has come up with to build some buildings in order to capture the moment. God is saying to Peter—stop speaking and start listening. Our culture prioritizes the loud, the bombastic, the boisterous—the first to speak. In doing so, we have failed to listen.
Listening takes practice and intentionality. It requires diligence and patience. No one is teaching us how to listen these days. Jesus, however, modeled a listener attuned to God and attuned to the needs of people. Jesus only answered 3-8 questions people asked him; he, however, asked over 130.
Recently, I was asked a compelling question, “What do you want a first time visitor to look like in five years?” The simple, yet profound answer that God laid upon my heart was that we would “learn to listen to Jesus.”
“If we continually disregard the gentle, loving voice of the Lord deep within us, what else can we expect but that our hearts will grow cold and hard? Every time we shut out Christ’s words, we make it that much harder to hear Him the next time, until the day may well dawn when we will be literally incapable of ever hearing His wonderful voice again.”^
This is the first mark of a disciple: Spend Time With God.
Disciple-Making Action Step: In order to stop speaking and start listening to Jesus, my next step is ____________________.
Maybe start by reading Matthew 17:5 to yourself three times.
Do you feel like God’s beloved? Do you feel like God is well pleased with you?
^Mike Mason, The Gospel According to Job.