Let Him Hear
Matthew 11:13-15 ESV
Malachi 4:5 ESV
John 1:21 ESV
John 1:29-34 ESV
My dad was one of the kindest men I’ve ever known. He had the gift of kindness.
My dad was not a push-over.
When I very young and was supposed to finish a task he was kind but he was really clear about his expectations.
He was very clear about listening. When he spoke I was supposed to listen.
It turned out that once I started school I wasn’t a natural listener. I was a natural speaker. All…and I mean ALL of my old report cards from elementary school had numerous comments related to my ability to listen well. They all said, “she talks too much.”
As an adult I had to learn to be quiet and listen to God. It’s a very good thing that my Spiritual Director was a very patient teacher! Over and over again he taught me how to sit in silence so I could HEAR God.
In Matthew 11:13-15 we are told, “For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
First came John the forerunner. Then the Messiah was to come. At the time those words were spoken, the crowd didn’t understand that Jesus was the ONE to come.
The phrase meaning if you have ears, hear this. The Koine Greek literally says ‘the one having (echon) ears, let him hear.
In other words if you are listening, really listening, then HEAR THIS. We get the idea by saying IF you have ears, LISTEN. Jesus was reiterating and highlighting what had been said because it was important!
Jesus was telling them He was the Messiah.
We notice in the parallel Old Testament verse in Malachi 4:5, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.“
The prophet Malachi saw and knew one would come who was like Elijah. In John 1:21 we read, “And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.””
John knew he was the forerunner. We know at the baptism John realized who Jesus was and John the Apostle wrote of it in John 1:29-34, “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
Some theologians believe that John had asked God for a sign so he would be sure.” (https://www.neverthirsty.org/bible-qa/qa-archives/question/when-did-john-the-baptist-know-that-jesus-was-the-messiah/).
I myself have been told by some that I should KNOW and believe when God shows me something. I’ve prayed about that and I think God gives grace to me when I ask for clarification. God knows I am human and He helps me when I need help.
God always gives grace.
I am re-reading ABBA’s Child by Brennan Manning where he quotes Mike Yaconelli writing in his journal about his time at a five day retreat, “It took only a few hours of silence before I began to hear my soul speaking. It only took being alone for a short period of time for me to discover I wasn’t alone. God had been trying to shout over the nosiness of my life, and I couldn’t hear Him. But in the stillness and solitude, His whispers shouted from my soul, “Michael, I am here. I have been calling you, but you haven’t been listening. Can you hear me, Michael? I love you. I have always loved you. And I have been waiting for you to hear me say that to you. But you have been so busy trying to prove to yourself that you are loved…that you have not heard me.” (ABBA’s Child: The cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging. By Brennan Manning. Page 35.)
I used to tell my own Spiritual Director that there were times when I couldn’t hear God.
He would ask me if I turned off all the noise around me, like the television, the radio, or if I closed my iPad and turned my iPhone off.
Then he would tell me God is in the silence.
You see, silence is God’s first language.
In order for us to hear we need to embrace the silence. If we want to be sure, we need to ask and wait.
I would ask, “but, how long?”
My Spiritual Director’s response was, “for as long as it takes.”
Today, even today, he who has ears, let him be silent so he can hear.
Spiritual Practice: Sit in Silence
Turn off all the sound, the light noise, and the voices in your head and sit in silence with God. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait for as long as it takes. Then Hear God.
In God, Deborah