Isaiah said, “Listen that you may live,” and Jesus said, “If you have ears, listen.” As we continue our study of the parables of Jesus, this call to listen becomes very evident in Jesus’s speaking. Listening to Jesus might not sound very difficult… unless of course we actually listen to Jesus!
In my reading this week I came across an article by Charles Poole entitled “Steep Jesus, Not Sweet Jesus” that he wrote for the Baptist Studies Bulletin published by Mercer University. Referring to the transfiguration on the mountain when the voice of God says, “This is my son, listen to him,” Poole says the following:
“Listening to Jesus is a very dangerous and risky proposition. For instance
Jesus says, ‘Do not resist an evildoer. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, turn the other also. Love your enemies and pray for those that hurt you.
You cannot serve God and wealth. A person’s life does not consist of the abundance of their possessions. None of you can become my disciples unless you give up all of your possessions.’”
Well, you see what I mean. When the voice from the cloud says, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him,” all of a sudden the Mount of Transfiguration gets steep. The one to whom we are to listen is more “steep Jesus” than “sweet Jesus.” His words don’t fit our ways. Our ways don’t fit his words. In an odd sense, Jesus, who is our Savior, is also our problem. He is our problem in the sense that we have to duck, dodge, and dilute his words in order to keep on doing life in ways that work in the real world.”
Maybe listening to Jesus is not as simple as we make it out to be. It seems that listening is to lead to doing. But as Isaiah says, this kind of listening and doing leads to real life. May God grant us the courage to listen and to act!