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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Listen to Him (Thought for the Day Part 20)

Today’s readings:

2 Peter 1:16-19

Matthew 17:1-9

God said of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Mt 17:5b). Many in the world do not listen to Jesus, though we who know Christ and are trying to live Christ certainly are decided to listen to and follow him.

But how do we know what Jesus is telling us? Well, we pray, we read the Bible, and we listen to those he sends to speak to and teach us, especially the prophets. This is what God commanded His people the Israelites. Moses said of himself, “A prophet like me will the Lord, your God, raise up for you from among your own kindred; that is the one to whom you shall listen.” (Dt 18:15). Moses was also referring in general to all true prophets who were to succeed him. Who are true prophets? Here is a definition: “human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.” (2 Pt 1:21b).

Now notice that the prophet is raised by God from among a people’s own kindred. This at times makes it hard, as was even the case with Jesus, for people to accept him and what he says. Of course the enemy also influences God’s people to reject him or his message.

How is a true prophet of value?

First, a true prophet is one who has had a deep personal encounter with the risen Lord Jesus. He has met Christ and has gotten to know him. He is one who is in awe at the glory of the Lord. He is one who has witnessed the awesome majesty of God. And being assigned by God to speak for Him, God reveals mysteries to him, enabling him to “see” into the depths of God. Like Peter, prophets are those who “had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.” (2 Pt 1:16b).

Second, a true prophet is profoundly prayerful. He “goes to the mountain” to be with Jesus, and earnestly seeks to hear God’s voice. “We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain.” (2 Pt 1:18). God speaks to true prophets so that they might bring His word to His people.

Third, a true prophet is focused on Jesus and his work of salvation. He is not into intellectual discourses or theological debates or useless argumentation, but simply proclaims the life and work of God in power until Jesus comes again. “We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pt 1:16a).

What is the result of the above?

What the prophet says is truly of God. “Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable.” (2 Pt 1:19a). If that is so, if the prophet truly speaks on behalf of God, if God truly has important words or directions He desires to give His people through His prophet, then God’s people must listen to him. “You will do well to be attentive to it” (2 Pt 1:19b). Now that is quite an understatement. If God’s people do not listen to Him, if God’s people do not listen to the prophet whom He sends, then they will not be guided properly, they will be in darkness, and will eventually veer away and be lost. Thus they are to look to the prophetic message “as to a lamp shining in a dark place” (2 Pt 1:19c). God will guide His people out of darkness and into His marvelous light.

Thus God’s guidance is there, through the prophetic word. Knowing that a prophet is not that easily accepted, especially if he is just one among the kindred, it is incumbent upon God’s people to humble themselves, to be not hard of heart, to not reject hard teachings or directions, to strive to be attentive to the prophetic word, and to ask God for His enlightenment. As God desires to speak to His people, if and when they do listen to Him (and to His prophet), then He will enable them to see the light, “until day dawns and the morning star rises in (their) hearts.” (2 Pt 1:19d).

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