‘Are you even listening?’
This frustrated cry is one many of us are familiar with.
You may have said it in an argument with someone. You might scream it in your head when you’ve asked the same question for the fifth time in a meeting at work. If you’re a parent, you probably say or think it on a daily basis. Whatever our situation is, we all understand that listening matters.
In the Old Testament, Moses was the template for what a prophet of God looks like. Yet Moses spoke of another prophet who would come after – one who would be like Moses, who would speak the words of God and who the people must listen to. Not just a prophet, the prophet.
‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him……. The Lord said to me ‘What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I commanded’ Deuteronomy 18:15-19
And in Jesus we see the perfect image of this prophet* – one who didn’t just lead God’s people out of slavery into the promised land but one who leads us from eternal slavery to sin and death into eternal life. Is it any wonder we are told to listen to Him?
Yet so often we are guilty of hearing but not listening. We remember Jesus as Immanuel at Christmas and Jesus as Messiah at Easter but can neglect Jesus the word made flesh**, the promised prophet whose words are precious. When we recall Jesus’ life, it’s so easy to rely on half-remembered Sunday School stories rather than actually read the gospel accounts.
We all know the Christmas story so well, yet did you know only 4 chapters in the gospels are concerned with the birth of Jesus? There are 85 more that tell us of who this baby became – His miracles, His actions, His words.
The wonderful thing is we have all the tools we need to listen anytime; we can open the Bible and hear from Jesus right now. The question is, will we listen?
Lord, help us to listen to you. This festive season as we reflect on the birth of Jesus, may we not lose sight of the person of Jesus, the promised prophet who is alive today and speaks to us through Your Word. Amen.
Written by Alex Banks. Alex is a member of Hope Church Newham. He is also husband to Katrina and father of James (2 ½) and Charlotte (11 months).
* John 1:45, John 6:14, Acts 3:22-23
** John 1:14