Listening Ears


“Listening Ears”
Reflections of a Deaf Man

     I was reading the account in the Bible the other day about how John the Baptist is in prison and is facing a rather uncertain future. The story goes that as John the Baptist is sitting there he is reflecting on his life and the major events of his life. One of those major events was his “honorable task” of being the one who would prepare the way for the Messiah. No doubt he was remembering the day when he said to some of his disciples; “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” [John 1:29] It is this event that is foremost in his mind and he sends his disciples to ask; “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?’” [Luke 7:20]  When you think about it, this might be a little strange because when Jesus was baptized the Bible says that there was a voice from heaven that said; “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” [Matthew 3:17]  You would think that this would have been unquestioning proof to John about who Jesus was.
     The Bible tells us about another time when there was a voice from heaven too. We read about this event in Matthew 17. This was the time Jesus and three of his disciples went up the mountain and Jesus as suddenly joined by Moses and Elijah and a blazing light. In the glory of this moment a voice comes from heaven and says in the hearing of the disciples who were there; “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” [Matthew 17:5]
     If you look back to the baptism of Jesus, you will see that what is said here on the Mount of Transfiguration is identical to what was said at his baptism…except the addition of the last phrase. “Listen to Him.” So, it seems to me that the last phrase was for the benefit of Peter, James and John. I wonder sometimes about the tone of these heaven sent words. Did it sound like a command? Did it sound like encouragement? Or did it sound like a plea? (Please listen to Him) Anyway you look at it, these are significant words even for us who are latter day disciples of Jesus!
     In my contemplation of these words, I wondered to myself, “How often do I actively listen to what Jesus says?”  I came to the conclusion that I am all too often a deaf man…I don’t listen as carefully as I should to what Jesus has said.
     One of the things that I have become aware  of lately is that my hearing isn’t what it used to be. My wife would be able to verify this. It used to be that my not hearing her was a matter of selective hearing. But lately it is functional. As an example, my wife has learned not to tell me anything that is important when I am clearing the table and rinsing the dishes. If the water is running, its sound drowns out her sweet voice and if she forgets I simply say, “Water’s running.”
     But as a deaf man I have to admit that when it comes to listening to Jesus, I think it is much the same way. There are so many other things in my life that distract me or drown out what Jesus says. Maybe it is that way for you too! This is a sad occurrence because what Jesus has to say is so much more important than anything else.  When we don’t listen to what Jesus says, our personal, professional and church life really suffers.
     So the question that I ask you, dear brothers and sisters, in this edition of our church newsletter is, “Is your life everything that it should be?” This is not a question I can answer for you because only you and God really know the answer to it. But if you and I are really honest about it then perhaps we can admit that we are not listening to Jesus like we should. I would encourage you to take a few moments each day to begin searching the Bible for the words of Jesus and allowing those words of Jesus to touch the ears of your heart and to remove the deafness that keeps you from having the life Jesus wants you to have.                     
     Now you might wonder where you can start. May I suggest that one of the best places to start is in the gospel of Matthew? There you will find the words of Jesus that he spoke on the mountain and have come to be known as the Sermon on the Mount. What he says there will touch every part of your lives if you ‘listen to Him.’
     God bless you in your reflections as a deaf person and may each of us hear and then put into practice the words of our Savior.
--Pastor Jerry Blom