In Matthew 17, we read the account of Jesus going up on a high mountain with three of his disciples. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light. Then Moses and Elijah appeared before them, talking with Jesus. The scene comes to a thrilling climax with the voice of God proclaiming, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
Looking at the context, we see that God wants us to listen to Jesus above all else. Moses represented the law and Elijah represented the prophets. Even above these great leaders from Old Testament times, we need to listen to Jesus. Jesus doesn’t contradict the Old Testament; he fulfills it and explains to us exactly what it means. The disciples who followed Jesus back then learned that they could trust him completely. We who follow Jesus today need to learn the same lesson. We need to take the words of Jesus very seriously.
We need to listen to Jesus when he tells us that he is the only way to God (John 14:6) and that “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16).
When it comes to our finances, we need to listen to Jesus, who commends those who tithe (Matthew 23:23) and points out that we can’t serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24).
Concerning gender issues and marriage, we need to listen to Jesus—“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6).
Will we listen to Jesus as he teaches us the importance of holy living? (Matthew 18:6-9). Will we take to heart his words about witnessing (Acts 1:8), forgiving those who sin against us (Matthew 18:21-35), practicing church discipline (Matthew 18:15-17) and numerous other teachings that are essential to living a life that is truly Christian?
Scripture consistently reminds us that it is not enough to simply listen to Jesus—we must also obey him. The Sermon on the Mount closes out with these words—“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27).
Let’s make sure we build our lives on a solid foundation! Let’s listen to the words of Jesus and do what he tells us to do!