Obedience Can Bring Life


Then a cloud overshadowed (Jesus along with Peter, James and John), and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’   (Mark 4:7)

This week is a transition week in the  Christian story. While on a mountaintop with Peter, James and John, Jesus is transformed as Moses and Elijah appear with him. The vision is overwhelming and the disciples are rightfully amazed. Peter wants to commemorate the event by building three shrines for Moses, Elijah and Jesus. If only he could hang on to the moment!

But the voice from the cloud jolts him back to reality. With the urging to “listen to him,” God’s voice declares that this is not about an experience for Peter to cling to. This is about an encounter with the God who has come in Christ and who has sent Jesus for the sake of the world. This is not just a religious experience for a few insiders nor is it about “what’s in it for me?” Rather, it is about a call to discipleship and living out God’s will in our world and in our lives.

As we turn toward Lent, the call from the mountain is a call to obedience. The notion of obeying is not a popular one in today’s world. We’d rather be set free and in our culture freedom means doing what we want. But as people who are held captive by sin, doing what we want often leads to destruction while obedience to what God wants is the path to life. As hard as it is to grasp, “listen to him” is the starting point for transformation and new life.

As we prepare to begin Lent, perhaps the discipline of listening for the guidance of Christ and the will of God is the most important thing for many of us to focus on. Where we do what God calls us to do, we may or may not find struggle, but we can be assured that we will find life.

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