HEAR Him? No . . . Hear HIM!
by David Walker

I was just reading an e-mail from one of the lists I'm a member of, when I came across a reference to Jesus' transfiguration in Matthew 17. While reading this e-mail, it was suddently revealed to me that I was reading it with the wrong emphasis. Since I'm sure I'm not the only one who has done this, I thought I'd share it with you, and you can see what you think.

In Matthew 17:5, it says, "While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!'" (NKJV) Now, I had always read this verse with the emphasis on the word "hear," (as in "HEAR Him!" Or, in some translations, "LISTEN to Him!") Reading it this time, I suddenly realized that the emphasis should be "Hear HIM!" (Or, "Listen to HIM!") In order to understand the significance of this, you have to look at who else appeared there on the mountain with Jesus, and what they represent.

In Matthew 17:3, we see, "And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him." Why these particular two men? Why not Abraham, or Isaac, or someone else? Because of what they represented. Moses represents the Law, and Elijah represents the Prophets. You'll notice that these two were speaking to Jesus, not to the disciples present. Then the voice from the cloud told the disciples to listen to Jesus (as opposed to Moses or Elijah). Why? Because, in and through Jesus, the Law and the Prophets would be fulfilled. And everything that is written in the Law, and all prophecies, past, present, and future, must be looked at in relation to Christ, first and foremost.

When our Messiah walked among men, He not only expanded upon the Law, and the definition of sin, but He also fulfilled it in His sinless life. He also gave us a new commandment, to "love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another." John 13:34. In Romans 13:10, Paul tells us that "love is the fulfillment of the Law." Christ said in John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." He then went on to give an eternal example of this at Golgotha, or Calvary. My point is, if we become so obsessed with every "jot and tittle" of the Law that we forget about love, we become like the Pharisee in Luke 18:10-12. We can start to believe that we are better than someone else because we keep the Law and Commandments better, and therefore feel justified in "looking down" on other Christians that may not be as strong as we are (or, at least, as strong as we think we are!). A self-righteous attitude has no room for love, and is therefore of no value at all. Don't get me wrong, the Law is still useful and valuable "for docrine, for reproof, for correction, (and) for instruction in righteousness..." 2Timothy 3:16. But we must not let ourselves get so zealous for the Law that we forget about Christ's love for us, and, by extension, the love we are to show to others.

The same can be true of prophecy. There are many people who are very interested in prophecy. I am one of these people, myself. But all prophecy must, again, be examined in relation to our walk with Christ. Like the Law, we cannot allow our zeal for prophecy to become greater than our love for our Saviour. Most will say, "Oh, I would never let that happen." But think for a moment: Do you spend more time serving Christ, learning about Him, and living your life as an example of His love, or do you spend more time studying prophecy, and searching out the latest "word" of prophecy, either in books, or on television, or on the internet? It's so easy to get caught up in the exciting times in which we live (prophetically speaking), that we can find ourselves focusing on that more than on Christ without even realizing it.

I'm not saying that we should forget about the Law, or about prophecy. The Law is still important for "instruction in righteousness," and prophecy is still important as a sign that His return is close at hand, but Christ's love for us, and the love we are to show one another are more important. Without letting His love show through us, and through our lives as an example to others, all of our prophecies, and all of our efforts to observe the Law and Commandments are worthless.

Paul says in 1Corinthians 13:1-3, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing."

"This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear HIM!"

Questions? Comments? Criticisms? Critiques?

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