A season to give ourselves to the words of Jesus

Published 8:28 am Friday, February 20, 2009

On Sunday, many within the Christian community will celebrate the last Sunday after the Epiphany, the transfiguration of our Lord. In this event three of Jesus’ closest disciples have a glimpse of the Lord in all of his radiance. In their fear and trembling, they hear the voice of God affirming Jesus as God’s Son, and perhaps most importantly they are told to listen to Jesus. Though there is some debate about what exactly they are to listen to, many would suggest that Jesus’ words about his death and resurrection are certainly part of that important message. The encouragement to listen to him is of equal importance to us today as it was in the time of Jesus’ first disciples.

As human beings we are equally tempted to turn away from what appear to be the difficult and disconcerting words of Jesus’ message and to replace them with words that seem more appealing to us in our lives today. As a result instead of talking about sacrifice and service, people are more inclined to look for door prizes if they attend worship and to cling to the message of prosperity that so many are offering in Jesus’ name today.

Today perhaps more than ever there are a multitude of voices in the culture around us calling to us in an effort to lead us in one direction or another. The only thing that these voices have in common is to lead us away from the path set by the voice of the savior, the only voice that we need follow to know a wholeness that this world cannot provide. If these temptations were not enough there are also those who would speak in Jesus’ name about topics that Jesus never said anything about. At the same time these voices seem to have no memory of the things that Jesus did say, about forgiving even our enemies, of not judging others in regard to their salvation and relationship with God, and to be willing to sell everything and to follow him.

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As we enter into the season of Lent, the encouragement to listen to Jesus becomes more important than ever. This is a season to give ourselves and our devotion to the words of Jesus about serving others, about taking up our own crosses, and about the promise of the nearness of God’s dominion in him which makes our feeble efforts even possible.

It comes down to the words that Jesus not only spoke but lived and listening to them that we might know the fullness and abundance of life that he offers to all.