Summary: A Sermon on why we should always have our hearts open to hear what Jesus might have to say to us.
Listening To Jesus
Have you ever walked into a situation where the best thing that you could ever say was nothing at all? I’m sure at some point in our life we have all suffered from “Foot in Mouth” disease. Sometimes the words slip out faster than we can realize just what it is we are saying.
As a prerequisite to ordination with the Wesleyan and Nazarene church, the person seeking ordination must stand before a group of peers (District Board of Ministry in Nazarene circles) and be prepared to answer questions. These questions will lead this board to decide if the candidate is indeed ready for ordination, or if more growth is needed in the person’s life. It can be a very nerve wracking experience.
Prior to my own ordination, I stood before the DBMD of the Kentucky District. Melissa was with the Mrs. Black, the District Superintendent’s wife, as I stood alone before the firing squad. Rev. Black asked me to take a seat. As I was preparing to sit down, one other member said, “We have your chair wired so we can fry you when you say something we do not like.”
At this point, conventional wisdom would say “ Just laugh! It’s a joke!” I’ve never really listened to conventional wisdom, so as I was being seated; I looked over at the board member and said, “Well, it’s a good thing I am wearing my rubber underwear today.” The DS laughed the loudest, and I sat in my chair red-faced because of what I had just said at the beginning of my ordination interview.
Despite my slip of the tongue, I was recommended that the Wesleyan church accept me as an ordained minister.
It’s amazing how many times we can just spout off the first thing that pops into our heads when a situation calls for nothing to be said at all. We were taught in Bethany during our pastoral counselling class that the best counsellors do more listening than interjecting their own thoughts and ideas in any given situation.
There are times when we feel like we need to be the hero. When someone is hurting, we feel the need to ride in on our white horse and save the day. Often though, we can make more of a mess. As hard as it is sometimes, there are times that arise when the situation calls for to be quiet.
Peter was a man who was like that. Sometimes he would say some brilliant things. Then the times would arise when he would spout off and totally miss the point. What he, and the other disciples, failed to do was to stop long enough and listen to what Jesus was saying.
I had a teacher in high school that would always tell the classes he has that there was a difference between hearing what he had to say and listening to what he had to say. To hear somebody means the sounds that are made enter into the ear canal. Listening is taking what we hear and focus in on it.
The question to be asked today is are we listening to Jesus?
To find out what this Scripture has to say to us, we need to look at this all in the context of what was taking place. Jesus and the twelve have just crossed the Sea of Galilee, and are on the Greek side of the lake. While here, Jesus has performed many of the same miracles that He had on the Jewish side. There were people healed from ailments and illnesses, demons cast out, etc. Up to this point, Peter had declared Jesus as the Christ, and once again, Jesus had said He was going to die again.
A lot of this may have become easily lost amongst the Disciples. They have seen Jesus feed thousands before. They’ve witnessed blind people regaining their sight before. Jesus did these things on such a frequent basis; perhaps they were once again missing the point. Even His ever present “ I’m going to die boys.” may have been wearing thin. No matter what the case, they heard all Jesus had to say, but that doesn’t mean they were listening. In fact, Jesus said something about this would be clearer after He rises from the dead, but...
We to can fall into that trap. We have been in church enough to hear many of the same messages over and over again. When we opened our Bibles, the “Mount of Transfiguration” passage is so familiar, maybe some of you thought, “I’ve heard it before. I’m doing all right. When is lunch, anyway?” That’s called hearing, but not listening.
We can sometime become so enthralled with our own lives that we miss what Christ may be trying to say to us in the service.