I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Hans and Franz, the two overachieving body builders on Saturday Night Live whose tag line was, “We’re gonna pump (clap) you up!” They never really pumped me up but they did crack me up.
These guys knew how to focus. Unfortunately their focus was pretty narrow and didn’t include much more in life than body building. They had a lot of advice to hand out though, which was prefaced by the warning to “Hear me now and listen to me later.” Again, it cracked me up, but there is a lot of truth is that phrase. Many times in life we hear someone say something but it doesn’t really sink in, or make sense, or become relevant to us until later. We listen now and hear it later. So to speak.
So one day Jesus took Peter, James, and John up on a mountain, just the three of them. They went up there to get away and to pray, which frankly sounds pretty good to me right now. While they were up on the mountain by themselves, suddenly the three disciples saw Moses and Elijah standing there with Jesus. Moses and Elijah were two of the most important people in the faith.
All of a sudden these three disciples saw Jesus with Moses and Elijah and they were amazed and exclaimed, “Awesome!” Well, no, they didn’t exclaim hat but they were filled with awe. And also a little bit of terror. I mean really, seeing your own rabbi up there with Moses and Elijah is awesome. So Moses and Elijah were conferring about something that either the disciples couldn’t hear or they weren’t paying attention to.
Then Matthew 17:5-8 says, “While [Peter, who had just suggested setting up tents and staying there a while] was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!’ When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Get up and do not be afraid.’ And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.”
God said, “Listen to him!” I think most of us do try to listen to Jesus. We read the stories from the Bible. We hear Sundays explaining what Jesus said and did. We get together and discuss the Bible with others. We listen, but we don’t always hear him later. We listen for a while and then forget what he said, or just conveniently put away what he said for another day.
One way to get around this is on a regular basis to keep reading and hearing and discussing what Jesus said and did. Then we learn it. Then we write it on our hearts. Then we can remember it and hear it later when we need it.