Listen to Jesus. Please!
When Jesus finally came among us, He astonished the chosen people in everything He did. Yet, over the centuries God was abundantly clear with them. When Yahweh announced, “You will be my people, and I will be your God,” He wanted His people to be prepared and ready for the Messiah’s arrival.
His prophets gave the chosen people remarkable details to recognize this wonderful Messiah. For instance, Scriptures say He will be another Moses. And like Moses himself mentions, “A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kin, to him you shall listen”. (Deuteronomy, 18:21). These details, along with many others, were given them to ponder.
A Messiah who is like Moses, means a liberator who freed God's people from slavery. Moses did this leading the Israelites from Egypt towards their promised land. And like Moses, Jesus the Messiah, freed the chosen people from death and sin into new life through His suffering, pain, rejection, and abuse for His obedience and submission to God, as Moses did.
In another place God told His chosen people to listen carefully to the Messiah’s words, because they will be Yahweh's words. Similarly, as Moses declared to the chosen people to “listen to him” He too spoke Yahweh’s words.
Later, God will say similar words. While John the Baptist is baptizing Jesus, God declares, “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.” And again, on Mt. Tabor at the Transfiguration, God speaks firmly saying, “Listen to Him.” (Matthew, 3:17)
When Jesus was giving his inaugural homily to His kinfolk He this Scripture: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor…” Jesus continued: “Today these words are fulfilled…” And the people chased Him from town. They didn’t listen to Him.
Jesus was not enough to be their Messiah. They wanted someone else. They could not see the signs because they were looking for the signs that suited them, not God. And they didn’t listen to Him.
Perhaps many want Jesus to be more like a modern-day Siri “Hey Siri. Call work and tell them I’m sick today.” Or Alexa,“Alexa play some smooth jazz for me.” Or a Jesus, the “quick fixer” with a magic “diet pill” that allows us to eat chocolate and still lose weight.
Rather, God sent the Messiah that we all need. Jesus came with one purpose - to empower us with strength, insight, and faith. By His words, Jesus would preach how our lives are worthwhile and He would demonstrate for us why trust in God, His Father, who loves us no matter how we handle challenges placed in our paths, is what God wants each person to understand. If we stray off course, Jesus is always nearby to call us back. Above all, Jesus’ death and resurrection banishes our fears and gives us lasting hope for a peace-filled tomorrow.
Today it’s up to us to listen to Jesus and do what many courageous people of the past have done. Get up and follow him.
As Adolph Delp, the German Jesuit Martyr said. “If through one life there is a little more kindness, a little lighter and truth in the world, then he will not have lived in vain.”
When any of us live these words even in a small manner, it shows we indeed are listening to Him.
(Painting: Vincent Van Gogh, Pieta after Delacroix: Van Gogh Museum.)