I always have the radio on when I am in what I call my office, even though it has actually become more of a study. In our area in southern Ontario, Canada, there is a radio station which plays only classical music. In December, they played a lot of really fine Christmas music as well. When I am reading, studying, or writing, I listen to their music.
One day, I was studying the passage about the transfiguration of Jesus.
Mark 9:2-4,7 – Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!" (NIV)
Since I was listening to the radio at the same time, I thought about the word "listen". We casually listen to music at home or in the car. We enjoy it at the time, but it does not necessarily stay with us. We listen to someone telling us something, but quite often, as the saying runs, "It goes in one ear and out the other."
I looked up the word "listen" in the dictionary, and it says "to hearken, to heed", in other words, to obey, to really pay attention.
When God said, "Listen to him!", it was not just a suggestion that we should listen in a casual sort of way, like we do when we listen to the radio or some music. No, it was more like a military command: listen, pay attention, obey! The words of Jesus are life-changing and timeless. When Jesus speaks, and we really listen, lives are transformed and forever altered. He tells us, "I am the way and the truth and the life" (John 14:6a NIV), and His words have remarkable power.
So often when I read the Bible — which we do together after breakfast every morning — I just read, like when I listen to music from the radio. I read the words, but quite often, they don't enter my very being. It is only when I sit down and consciously read and study that the words become more meaningful. It is only then that the words of Jesus start having real meaning. That's when I really listen to Him.
Think about that. Do you just read the Bible, or do you really listen to what Jesus says? Remember the voice from the cloud: "Listen to him!"
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we ask that when we read Your Word, we would really, really understand, comprehend, believe, and apply those words to our lives here and now. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Jesus Paid It All" (Lyrics)