Anyone who is a somebody became a somebody by one method: getting people to hear them. Whatever it is, from singing, comedians, actors, some preachers, game show hosts, news anchors, and all TV personalities, etc. they all became what they are today because someone or a group of someone’s was willing to give them a few minutes of their time to listen to them. Listening is therefore, key to becoming a somebody people will know. But if you really want all of history to remember you, you have to be unique. Out of all people you must show yourself to stand over the rest, alone and above. Think about the famous people we think of in History. Most of them we’re thinkers and speakers (in their own right) and it was their message that made them the unique person(s) we read about in books today. Jesus is such a Person.
After His famous Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) the people around Jesus made a comment about His teaching. “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astonished at His teaching, for He was teaching as One who had authority, not as their scribes.” (Matthew 7:28-29) This leads us to believe that in His day and age Jesus was not like anyone else. He spoke with authority and power and conviction, which from this verse is just what the scribes and other Jewish leaders of the day did not do. But I don’t think it was just His power and presence in teaching, it was His message that people stood in awe of. Either He was right and everything really had to change, or He is freaking nuts! To call yourself God, call people to follow you and lay their lives down with you, to suffer with you, and embrace a harder life to be with you? You had to be very persuasive to conjure up that kind of following, or you had to be God.
Two thoughts on hearing today:
a) Hearing is essential to embracing the gospel.
In order to become a Christian one must do a certain thing. It is a thing quite unlike any other ritual or ceremonial entrance into a secret society, one must HEAR the gospel AND believe it to join up. Many people hear the gospel throughout their lives from many different sources, but those who will lay down their lives for the sake of Christ moving forward into more hearts in this world for the fame and glory of God have not only heard the gospel, they’ve believed it to be true. In fact, I would say if one has heard the gospel and not believed it to be true have they really heard it at all? Perhaps. But it remains, hearing the gospel is the first step to embracing the gospel. Romans 10:14-17 says it clearly: “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Faith comes from what? Hearing the Word of God.
b) Hearing is essential to living the gospel.
In order to live the Christian life, the gospel saturated, God-centered life one must continue hearing the gospel. Too many people believe and too many pastors encourage a false understanding of the Christian life by treating the gospel as if it is merely the kiddy-pool one learns to swim “the Christian life” in rather than the ocean of grace we eagerly abandon ourselves to throughout all of life. One cannot live the Christian life day to day without hearing the gospel. This means getting yourself into a position in life where friends tell you gospel truth during the day, or you listen to gospel truth during the day, or you read and study gospel truth during the day. Why is this so? It calls us out as sinners, displays Christ as saving and strong, gives assurance and grounding to believers while emboldening them to risk it all so that more would know Christ for the glory of God. It is the gospel that sanctifies us (2 Cor. 3:18), it is the gospel that encourages us toward godly living (Titus 3:1-7), and it is the gospel that leads us to lay our lives down for the name of Christ (Phil. 1:20). This gospel, words cannot describe in exhaustive detail, but throughout the ages words have been used to create, equip, and send out Christians all over the world. Hearing the gospel is essential to living the gospel. Indeed, if one does not hear this gospel regularly, can it be said you’ve heard it? Perhaps.
So I pose it to you as Jesus posed it once before to all of us: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 8:8)