Listening for God
JR. Forasteros - Mar 5, 2017
The First Failure
From Series: "Lent is for Losers"
Too often, we think faith is about winning - getting our way in the culture or in our homes. But during Lent, we'll trace the human journey through the Old Testament and see that getting what we want never works out like we hope. We'll see how Jesus enters into our failure and becomes a loser just like us. Somehow, his failure is good news for us. It turns out God is for losers, which is good news for all us failures.
More From "Lent is for Losers"
Have you noticed how difficult it has become for us to listen? We don’t listen to each other on social media. We don’t listen to people who have different perspectives from us. But even in mundane, everyday interactions, we struggle to listen. How often have you been watching TV or playing on your phone when someone (like your wife!) says, “Did you hear me?”
And you realize someone was talking to you, saying something probably pretty important, but you didn’t hear because you were distracted. Tuned out. Concentrating on something else.
If this happens with people in our lives, how much easier is it for God’s voice to be drowned out in our lives?
Many of us struggle to hear from God at all, and even those of us who know well what it is to experience God’s voice find it challenging to hear from God consistently.
Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week, the last week of Jesus’ life. Holy Week begins with Jesus being welcomed to Jerusalem as the Messiah. It ends just six days later, on Good Friday, with Jesus’ crucifixion. This was Jesus’ plan all along, but that doesn’t explain everyone else in the story.
Jesus told the disciples repeatedly that he was going to be crucified. But they abandoned him in fear. And the crowds – how could they go from hailing Jesus as their long-awaited Messiah to shouting for his death in less than a week? On Palm Sunday, they welcomed Jesus as the prophesied king come to destroy Rome, and by Friday, they’re calling for Rome to execute him as a pretender king.
At the heart of Holy Week is the painful reality that neither disciples nor the crowds were really listening to Jesus.
They allowed themselves to be lulled into a false sense of security by their expectations of Jesus.
The disciples expected Jesus to be a conquering Messiah, a winner. They expected him to destroy Rome. So no matter how many times Jesus told them he would be crucified by Rome, they couldn’t hear him. Because they weren’t listening.
Same with the crowds. They looked for a Messiah to restore the glory of old Israel. So when Jesus spent Holy Week challenging the priests and scribes of Israel rather than the Romans, they turned on him.
Jesus came to Jerusalem to die, to lose. He was clear about this all along. Throughout his whole ministry, this was the kind of Messiah he showed himself to be.
But no one could hear him, because no one was listening.
Let’s explore the sin of busyness and ask what it would take for us to make some space in our daily lives to hear from God.