This morning I am ruing the fact that there still seems so much between me and Jesus that is keeping me from a really close and intimate relationship. So many of my thoughts, inner conversations, actions etc start with myself and then only extend to Him as a sort of afterthought.
So I am kneeling at the foot of the cross and as I look up I see the cross towering above me – stretching up and up, the figure on it being transformed – a huge light – the cross is reaching up into the light and the figure on it is transforming into a beautiful rainbow multitude of colours and the center a blazing white light.
“Ian, I am the light and I am shining my light onto you and into you so that even the darkest corners of your heart will be lit – I have heard your desire to be released from self-interest, self-indulgence, self-satisfaction and to be able to find everything you need and want in Me – so I am shining My light into your heart and I am asking you to turn these things over to Me, that you feel are separating yourself from Me. The world, the flesh and the devil are constantly trying to pull you back and undo the progress you are making. See the chains that are still holding you, see in your mind’s eye Me breaking those chains, that is what the cross and the Light is about. Every day that passes you can be and are coming nearer and nearer to the goal of complete oneness with Me.”
My reading today is Acts 10:1-23. Now this is another turning point in Luke’s story of the Acts of the Apostles as witnesses by taking that witness in stages out to the whole world. It is the start of the astonishing step to include the Gentiles into God’s greater story of His Kingdom. But I am looking at what Jesus is saying to me today. The full impact of this whole movement will be shown later in this story. Why don’t you read the passage and ask Jesus to speak to you personally from it, after you have taken in the main point of the passage.
Firstly, what stands out to me today about Cornelius is that he is a devout believer in Jehovah, whom he addresses as “Lord” in vs 4. Where does his faith come from? Who introduced him to the “Lord”? It is said so by the way, but what strikes me is that whoever spoke to him was merely the agent or messenger that God sent to him to prepare him for this great, world-changing experience with Peter. Another example of how God is working out His plan continually in our lives and that person who is unnamed and unknown is just as important for the successful conclusion of this movement by God.
Another important factor is that several people “hear” the word from God and demonstrate that by obeying. Firstly Cornelius in vs 7 and then Peter in vs 23. Another thing that stood out for me was the fact that God was making a great move, but He doesn’t first appear to Peter and lay out His whole plan starting with a reminder of His instructions to the Apostles at His ascension to be a witness to the ends of the earth. No, he simply takes Peter step by step through the immediate next steps of the plan and Peter, sometimes without even understanding, has to follow Him for the plan to succeed. So I am reminded how important it is just to take the next step every day which you feel is where Jesus is leading you, even though you don’t necessarily see or understand the bigger picture at that stage.
So we have, in some ways come a full circle, to remind ourselves of the purpose of this blog: to learn to listen to Jesus. Way back in Mark 9 at a momentous event in the earthly life of Jesus, God comes down and meets with Jesus in His manhood and 3 disciples on top of a mountain, so symbolically significant, paralleling the meeting with Moses on Mt Sinai. God, at that moment in history has a short 10 word message for the disciples and for all of us who come after them. Mark 9:7b “This is My Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!” In John ch 10 Jesus reminds the disciples 3 times that his sheep know His voice and listen to Him because He knows them and they know Him, in other words they have a living relationship with Him and therefore they know and hear His voice..
So let’s listen to Jesus as He speaks in many ways to us: the underlying and undergirding way is through the scriptures. But remembering to listen for His voice through them. Then there are many other ways like through music, through the creation, through a quiet word to you, if you can drown out the clamour of the world, through that loving nudge when you want make an angry retort or embellish a story, or that gentle reminder to phone someone, or make a visit, take a meal or give some money. You are all good at this, nevertheless it is an area that I believe we can always continue grow in.
So let’s do it – let’s continue to learn to “Listen to Jesus”.