The Voice For Our Benefit

The Father speaks another time to the crowd surrounding Jesus. Again it is difficult for the people to trust or discern the source of the voice. It might be easy to assume that the people in this text should have recognized and understood the voice from heaven. Instead, let us consider how we hear, discern and trust the voice of God. A willingness to pay attention and listen, a biblical understanding of the love and grace of God, prayerful reflection and conversations with wise, spiritual friends and mentors can help us discern what God is saying to us. What voices are you currently listening to? Where is God's voice leading you into the light?

John 12:28-37 NLT
Father, bring glory to your name.”
Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” 29 When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him.
30 Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. 32 And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate how he was going to die.
34 The crowd responded, “We understood from Scripture that the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?”
35 Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. 36 Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”
After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them.
37 But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him.

For Reflection and Prayer:
If something captured your attention - a word, a phrase, an image - let this simmer in you and allow the Spirit to expand its meaning for you.
Notice any place of consolation or desolation that you experienced as you listened to and allow the Father to minister to you there.
What touches you about Jesus in this word? Talk it over with him.

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When I AM is Hidden

Throwing stones.
John chapter 8 opened with the stone throwing scene where the religious law enforcers where ready to publicly shame and kill a lone, defenseless woman. 59 verses later, the chapter closes with a crowd throwing stones to shame and silence the God-man Jesus.
What is underneath this tendency to throw stones at that which offends us, or which we do not fully understand or support? What if we stopped to simply look, listen, pray and wait to see where the eternal and always present I AM is hidden in all that is before us? How might this change how we are in this world?

John 8:48-59 (NLT)
48 The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?”
49 “No,” Jesus said, “I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father—and you dishonor me. 50 And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God is going to glorify me. He is the true judge. 51 I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!”
52 The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say, ‘Anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!’ 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”
54 Jesus answered, “If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me. You say, ‘He is our God,’ 55 but you don’t even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But I do know him and obey him. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.”
57 The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?”
58 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM]” 59 At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.

For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word, phrase or image which caught your attention you as you listened to or slowly read the text? Quietly reflect on it in your prayer with Jesus. Journal your conversation.

What feelings – either comfortable or uncomfortable - are rising up in you as you listen to this story? Gently bring this awareness into your prayer with Jesus. Listen for how he meets you in these feelings.

Savor any consoling words or pictures as you quietly rest in God’s everlasting love and eternal presence.

Shining Light Into the World

The brilliant light of Christ through the Holy Spirit lights up our lives--it shines through us, it shows in our eyes, our face, our words, our actions. What is within shines through us into the outer world.  It is not meant to be hidden but shared. What can hide the light or dull the shine? 

Each of us may have hidden fears, thoughts, points of shame or pain that may hide the light. Our willingness to be more transparent with another or a group of trusted people begins to bring forth the light that we have been given. We can listen more clearly and attentively to the voice of God as we release our fears, share our stories, and embrace the healing light and love of Christ and others. Our light is meant to be a beacon of hope in the darkness of the world.

Mark 4:21-25 (NLT)

Parable of the Lamp
Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine. For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”

For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word or phrase which stood out to you as you listened to the text?

Reflect on your secrets. Are there any which you would like to share with Jesus? Does he feel like a safe person to tell them to?