While he [Peter] 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!” (Matt. 17:5)
Peter has a propensity to talk. Within Matthew, the author portrays Peter as always having something to say. He’s claiming Jesus is the Messiah but also arguing with him when Jesus explains part of what that means. There’s Peter’s proclamation of wanting to pitch some tents on top of a mountain so they can hang out with Moses and Elijah. And of course there’s the famous line of Peter quoting the ever famous Shaggy song, “wasn’t me” when questioned about his ties to Jesus. Whenever the author of Matthew has the “disciples” say something or question Jesus, I like to think Peter was leading the charge.
This isn’t to say Peter’s outgoing and talkative personality is a bad thing; I know plenty of wonderful people who sometimes talk a lot *cough* Pastor Dave *cough* But what gets Peter into trouble, and I would argue many other people, is this mandate which comes from on high: to listen. God tells Peter, James, and John to listen to Jesus.
That should be an easy task, right? I mean, who wouldn’t listen to Jesus, the Son of Man. Certainly, we who are on the other side of Easter have an easier time than Peter in our obedience to all the things Jesus said.
Maybe, though, we need this reminder right before Lent comes. Maybe we need to be reminded that we are actually supposed to listen to the things Jesus says: the beatitudes describing God’s kingdom as our world turned on its head (Matt. 5:3-11); the inclusion of “sinners” in community (Matt 9); extending the fruits of the Kingdom to include outsiders (Matt 15:21-39); that God’s glory is made known in suffering (Matt. 16:13-23); and even that followers must take up that same banner of self-sacrifice (Matt. 16:24-28).
Speaking Christian, saying the words of faith, is only done when we are able to stop and listen to Jesus. Before we can even begin to say anything to the world, we need to listen to the one we seek to follow and embody. Our Core Values at FCC: teamwork, kindness, dependability, generosity, openness, grace, and spirituality all derive themselves from Christ. In order to live them out and have our actions match our words, we must listen to Jesus.
And if you need an excuse or a push to start? Well, God told you to.