Listen Up! – Man as Chaplain

Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” - Luke 9:28-35 ESV

As a young father and pastor, Chuck Swindoll once found himself with too many commitments in too few days. He got nervous and tense about it. “I was snapping at my wife and our children, choking down my food at mealtimes, and feeling irritated at those unexpected interruptions through the day,” he recalled in his book Stress Fractures. “Before long, things around our home started reflecting the pattern of my hurry-up style. It was becoming unbearable. I distinctly recall after supper one evening the words of our younger daughter, Colleen. She hurriedly began, Daddy-I-wanna-tell-you-something-and-I’ll-tell-you-really-fast. Suddenly, realizing her frustration, I answered, Honey, you can tell me…and you don’t have to tell me really fast. Just say it slowly. I’ll never forget her answer. She said, Then listen slowly, Daddy.”[1]

Just before our Scripture passage, Jesus had been telling His disciples about the mission of the cross. He then took his closest disciples to a secluded place on a mountain to pray. There, amazingly, Jesus was transfigured before their eyes, and Moses and Elijah even appeared alongside Him. The disciples were astonished, to say the least. Peter even suggested they build three tabernacles or shelters and stay there on the mountain. But God interrupted Peter and told the disciples and us what is most important: “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” This is not simply good advice for us to consider but a command to be obeyed. Listen to Jesus!
Jesus was about to do more amazing things in and through the lives of these men. He would go on to the cross, which was His mission, rise from the dead and ascend to the Father. Then it was the disciples’ turn. They would spend the rest of their lives serving, witnessing, and giving their lives for the message of the gospel, which was their mission. What they heard from the Master, they carried to places they never imagined they would go. They accomplished these things for the Kingdom of God because they obeyed God’s command from the cloud: Listen to Him!

The lesson here is obvious: We must listen to Jesus! Listen to Him when He speaks of His mission, which was a cross, the way of suffering to become our substitute. Listen to Him when He says to take up your own cross daily and follow Him (9:23). Listen to Him above all the cacophony of voices out there who would distract, discourage, and deceive us. Listen to Him.
Are you listening to Jesus? Being so preoccupied that you don’t hear your daughter speak is bad enough, but what about not hearing the voice of God? Open His Word. Read it slowly, purposefully, with all of your faculties. Meditate on it and pray, asking the Spirit of God to take the Word of God and speak to you. Listen for His voice. If we want to be faithful chaplains and spiritual leaders of our family and friends, we must listen to Jesus! Men, for the sake of our children, churches, communities, and nation, listen to Jesus!
- Are you so distracted, preoccupied, and busy that you don’t take the time to hear what God has to say to you? 
- Do you intentionally carve out time where you push distractions aside, read God’s Word, and pray?  
- Ask God to help you declutter the first part of your day and devote focused attention on hearing His voice. You can’t lead others until you listen to Him!  

  [1] Charles Swindoll, Stress Fractures: Advice and Encouragement for Handling Your Fast-Paced Life (Elgin, IL: David C. Cook, 1992), 87.