“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at His teaching, because He taught as one with authority, and not as their teachers of the Law.” Matthew 7:28-29 (NRSV)
A day in modern life is a cacophony of voices. Voices that cry out, ”Buy this,” ”Try this,” “Do this but not that.” “This will kill you,” “This will make you thin!” “This will make you live longer,” and so on. Sometimes the whole business of living seems boiled down to a montage of early morning infomercials. Everyone is touting the latest and greatest “Product You Have to Have,” when in reality we can do quite well without any of those infomercial wares. Except maybe that bacon bowl thing. Now that involves bacon, so it might be useful…not so much. Do we really need mac and cheese served in a bacon bowl?
Sometimes we get so lost in the quest for the latest and greatest novelty or panacea that we forget that the best way to a full and meaningful life is to love God, love others, and live simply. Instead of listening to the barrage from the TV or the computer it is far better to simply listen to the still, calm voice of the Spirit Who speaks to our hearts when we take the time to just let Him in.
The people in Jesus’ day had their cacophonies of voices just like we do. They had teachers who taught that salvation could be had by completing pilgrimages, or by doing a series of rituals, or by lining certain people’s pockets. They had teachers who proclaimed doom and gloom and that the sky was falling. They had teachers who condemned certain groups based upon their belief systems or customs or ethnic heritage. Different millennium, but we get the same junk messages. The French have a saying, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The difference between all the noisome voices of false teachings, static broadcasts, braggarts and blowhards, and the voice of Jesus is that His voice is the Master’s voice.
(Jesus said): “The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.” John 10:3-4 (NRSV)
Discernment-especially in the sense of being able to tell what is real from what is false, is a gift from the Holy Spirit. Do we hear the distracting voices all around us, or do we listen to the Holy Spirit and discern the voice of Jesus?
Jesus is the real deal. He is not out to line His pockets, or to bask in the attention of the crowds, or to enjoy the power trip. Even the religious teachers of Jesus’ day were so mired in adhering to the letter of the Law that they lost the heart of the Law. It’s easy to get so concerned with jots and tittles that the love behind the Law gets lost.
The Master’s voice is different from all the noise we hear coming from the world. His voice overrides all the static coming from man-made experts and charlatans who are everywhere on the airwaves.
May we all listen for, and take refuge in the Word. May we all know and love the Master’s voice.