Listening to the Master

Luke 9:43b-45
Zec 2:5-9,14-15a / Jer 31:10-13

Pay attention to what I am telling you: The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men.
(Luke 9:44)

Jesus tells us to “pay attention,”
And let His Word be our foundation,
So that in times of tribulation
We hold on to this consolation.

And all were astonished at the majesty of God. But while they were all marveling at everything He did, He said to His disciples, “Pay attention to what I am telling you: The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, that they should not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this saying. (Luke 9: 43-45)

Reflection

To His followers, the words of Jesus always seemed to contradict His amazing power. How could He be “delivered into the hands of men” when even the demons obeyed Him? Right after He had just expelled an evil spirit from a boy, He reminded His disciples again of His impending crucifixion. They must have been more perplexed by His words than by His divine power. At that time, His prophetic message did not make any sense to them, because His miraculous works had convinced them that He was indeed the Promised Messiah Whom the Jews had been awaiting for millennia to liberate them from their oppressors. How could He be their Savior now if He Himself would be “delivered into the hands of men”?

The miracles that our Lord performed were not meant to show His disciples that He possessed power to liberate Israel from the shackles of imperial Rome. They were intended as testimonies to His claim as the Son of the Living God, as well as manifestations of God’s compassion for the sick, the widowed and the possessed. But the disciples were so preoccupied with this power that Jesus had earlier given them, full of marvel at their opportunities, that the purpose of Christ’s mission lay beyond their comprehension. They dared not ask the Master about His foreboding prophecy, lest He confirmed what they were afraid to hear. Instead, they argued among themselves, distracted about who was the greatest (9:46). That was why they failed to exorcise the evil spirit (9:40). They were not listening to what Jesus had been teaching them, that what was most important was to be humble and compassionate.

Jesus may well be telling us, His modern-day disciples, the same thing: Pay attention to what I am telling you! There is a tendency among many of us to drift into complacency after many years in the renewal community. Perhaps unwittingly, due to our “busy-ness”, we begin to take important things for granted – like rushing through our morning prayers because of our tight schedules; or quickly signing off to slumber with a quick “Our Father” after a hard day’s work. Have we been paying much attention to HIM in our prayers and meditations, and in reading His Word?

Forgive me Lord for my inattentiveness; for constantly being distracted by worldly concerns; for failing to set aside time for You in meditation and prayer; for forgetting that You are the most important in my life. Thank You for reminding me whenever I am remiss in giving You priority as You rightfully deserve. Amen.

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