Could you imagine the grape contest Rachel described in the last post? How many grapes do you think you could fit in your mouth? I love the thought
So, guess what? MY BESTIE HAS WRITTEN A PIECE FOR US. WOW OH WOW YAY.
I don’t think I even need to express how much I love her and miss her, and how truly blessed I am to have such an amazing, understanding, God-fearing best friend in my life. Y’all already know all this if you know me, and have followed this friendship of mine through this blog or through social media.
Thank you for being a part of this, Bria. Thank your for always encouraging me in the Lord. ❤ ❤ ❤
In this #JSWTogether post, she brings us some contemplative thoughts about understanding who Jesus is, and knowing what His voice sounds like. Such awesome stuff!
“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
When I see the phrases “rejoice greatly” and “your king comes to you righteous and victorious,” I imagine a very different picture than what is presented directly afterwards. I imagine bright colors, a great parade, thousands of soldiers, and something generally more incredible and fearful, awe-inspiring and wondrous than “lowly and riding on a donkey.” But, when I read this passage, I know that it’s referring to Jesus who is a grand Savior and King, so there’s not much cognitive dissonance, but can you picture what the Israelites would have thought when this prophesy came to them? They might have been really confused, thinking that a king is supposed to be loftier, mightier, more intimidating, less relatable.
And, a similar juxtaposition happens with Jesus again.
“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so, he got up from the meal, took of his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”
Peter expresses the internal struggle that this action causes in his mind, and initially tries to deny Jesus the opportunity to wash his feet, which is a completely reasonable action when you remember who the disciples and the rest of Jesus’ followers thought he was. They thought that Jesus was going to be an earthly king, the man who would literally overthrow the Roman empire. So, when Jesus starts washing feet, it causes some confusion. Similarly, when Jesus tells the disciples repeatedly that he must die, they cannot comprehend what he means, because they didn’t yet understand the fullness of who Jesus was. They believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Coming Savior, and even the Son of God, but they didn’t know what that meant yet. Jesus speaks to this discrepancy himself to the disciples.
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.”
Because they didn’t fully understand who he is, they were consistently confused by his words and actions. Now, Christians have the gift of the Holy Spirit, and we are still so often caught off guard by aspects of God’s character, because we don’t know who he is. We think that he is unapproachable, undependable, not big enough to handle our problems, or maybe too big to care about our problems, so loving that he doesn’t want us to move past sin, or so just that he could never forgive our sin. I’ve thought all of these things about God at some point during my relationship with him.
Even further, sometimes, the picture presented to us about who God is, is confusing or contradictory—mighty king, riding on a donkey; all powerful, willing to wash our feet—and we don’t understand how both are possible, so we put more emphasis on certain characteristics, and God becomes something of our creation, instead of who He really is.
So, in order for us to know who God is, we have to get to know him. He already knows us. Sometimes, through the way that I pray, I find myself talking too much to God about who I am, and why I do things the way that I do. God already knows all that. So, I have to check myself, because I am really just self-analyzing, and that differentiation is really a personal matter, so I’m not saying that you are praying wrong, because I am only talking about myself. So, I have to remember that prayer is a conversation about and that involves two people. Anyway, we can’t just accept his existence and think that it qualifies as knowing him. We have to read and study his word and spend time with him through prayer. We have to learn what his voice sounds like.
John 10:3-5, 14-16
“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But, they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
We have to know Jesus well enough to know his voice, and not just enough to know his voice, but to distinguish his voice from other voices. And, this is not as easy a task as it seems. I can think of numerous occasions, when I have heard someone speak and mistaken them for another person. For example, people often say that my best friend Mishea’la and her sister Kae’sha, who is also my friend, speak the same way, and I’m always confused by this, because to me, they sound completely different from each other, but that’s only because I know them both well enough to be able to distinguish their voices from one another. I know the differences between not only the tone of their voices, but also the words that they use. But, if I didn’t know them so well, I would not be able to do that.
It’s important to know not only the tone of Jesus’ voice but also the words that he uses, because there are going to be other voices, imitating the voice of Jesus, that will tell you lies, and you will believe them if you don’t know how God speaks to you and about you. During an event, someone was talking about their addiction, and he was saying that the disease of addiction not only tells him lies, but it tells him those lies in his own voice. So, the only way for him to tell the difference, is knowing the words that the diseases uses versus the words that he uses. Similarly, with Jesus, we have to know what his voice sounds like and the words he uses, so we can separate the lies about our condemnation in sin, our need to be good to earn salvation, our unworthiness before God from the truth about our being justified before God because of his work on the cross, our ability to refute temptation and pursue sanctification because of his power dwelling within us, our ability to stand in God’s presence with confidence and peace because we are his children.
So, if we believe in Jesus, but have never taken the time to get to know him, to listen to him, to read his words, to understand his actions, to hear from him, then we will not be able to distinguish between his voice and the voice of a stranger, the voice of a liar, the voice of one who came to kill and steal and destroy.
Spend some time with Jesus today. Listen to his voice and the words that he uses. Get to know him.
You are mysterious and complex. I don’t understand everything about you, but I want to know your voice. Teach me the words that you use and the way that you use them. Give me strength to dig deeper into your word and to listen to you, to be still in your presence. You are the mighty, all powerful king who rides on donkeys and washes feet. You are the wonderful sustainer of our universe and my life. You are good beyond comprehension. Thank you for inviting me into your innermost courts and providing me with a safe space to rest. I love you and you are everything that I need, give me grace to see that you are all that I want.
In Jesus’ name,