Death #5 December 1 “Listen to my Mouth”
When my daughter Mackenzie was four years old, she loved to talk non-stop. She talked from the moment she opened her eyes in the morning until she closed them at night. That was a tough season. Truth be known, she exhausted me. After a while, all I heard was the sound of her voice (much like Charlie Brown’s teacher; “Wha, wha, wha…”) and I would just give any answer to quiet her. Mackenzie, being intelligent like her mother, realized I was not actually listening and would shout: “Listen to my mouth!”
As I read my assigned verses on John the Baptist, my attention kept turning to Matthew 11:15: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” I discovered that Jesus repeated this two other times in Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 4:5-6. And as we all know, when Jesus repeats Himself, we need to LISTEN. John the Baptist was the last and the greatest of the prophets. He was THE prophet who would announce the long awaited Messiah. It occurred to me that much like Mackenzie wanted to be heard, John the Baptist wanted/needed to be heard. Or did he?
Webster defines hearing as perceiving with the ear the sound made by someone or something. Listen is described as giving one’s attention to someone or something. However, actively listening is the practice of paying close attention to a speaker and asking questions to ensure full comprehension. These different “levels” of hearing require various levels of attention and effort. Have you ever heard someone say: “You need to put on your spiritual ears?” Spiritual listening takes hearing to a whole new level. James 1:22 (NIV) says: “Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” I believe this is the type of listening John the Baptist prayed/hoped for whenever he shouted: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). And frankly, this is what Mackenzie had hoped. Not just hearing, not just understanding, but responding.
In John 4, we find an excellent example of spiritual listening when the woman at the well encounters Jesus. To begin with, we see Jesus speaking to this Samaritan woman. Culturally this was totally frowned upon and could have caused trouble for both of them. The woman chooses to listen to Jesus’ words. Initially, she lacks understanding. She believes Jesus is offering her water and a way to avoid the inconvenience of the well. She pursues understanding by continuing to ask questions and by the end of the conversation she understands who Jesus is and the magnitude of what He is offering: living water, eternal life. After hearing and understanding, she responds by going home and telling all who would listen about her Jesus (John 4:28-30).
This is the spiritual listening God demands of all who believe. We are called to hear the Word of God, understand the Word of God, and share what we have experienced with all who will listen.
I wonder how many times John the Baptist wanted to yell: “Listen to my mouth!”
Women’s Ministry Director