Do you hear what I hear?December 26, 2017
“Do you hear what I hear?” the carol asks. Chances are, the answer is “no.” We do not all hear the same things and we certainly don’t all hear the same things the same way. Consider all the forms of speech that simply do not translate across generations, cultures, or social location. And consider that sometimes we hear only what we want to hear.
But hearing is the vital first requirement for faith and discipleship. When Jesus was asked about which is the greatest commandment, he responded with a paraphrase of the Shema– a daily prayer in ancient Israelite tradition found in Deuteronomy 6: 4-5. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” First, they had to hear.
Paul commends the Christians in Thessalonica for both hearing and receiving the Gospel when they heard it. I Thessalonians 2:13 reads, “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe” (emphasis added). The people are commended for hearing the Word of God for what it really is and then for responding rightly to it.
Romans tells us faith comes by hearing. But how would the Thessalonicans have ever heard if no one had ever bothered to tell them the Good News?
Do you hear what I hear when we hear the Word of God?
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Do you hear what I hear when I read that? Do you hear the calling of God to go, tell it on the mountain? Do you hear the echo of Christ’s great commission to His disciples? Do you hear God sending you to share good tidings of great joy for all people that a Savior has been born, and He is Christ the Lord?
Tis the season to be hearers of the Word and also doers of it (James 1:22). If you have heard the voice of the Lord and recognized Him for who He really is, then you are now a herald of that good and great news to those still wandering about like sheep without a Shepherd. John 10 is worth revisiting in preparation for serving today as a herald of the Gospel for we can only lead others where we have first followed. Let those who have ears, hear.