[Jesus replied] “Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.” (John 12:28-29, NIV)
This is an interesting verse to me. Jesus has just made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem and was being talked about by everyone. They were questioning whether or not he was the Messiah. So the Father made this declaration from heaven to verify that Jesus was, indeed, the Christ. But here’s the interesting part…
- John, one of Jesus’ closest friends, heard the voice from heaven and recorded it for us word-for-word.
- Some in the crowd heard only indistinct sound from heaven and assumed it was angels.
- Others in the crowd just heard noise from heaven and assumed it was thunder.
One message, three different responses. But it reminds me of some wonderful spiritual truths. God is always speaking to us – through his word, through the still small voice of the Spirit, even through our circumstances. The message is there…what we HEAR is often tied to our own hearts at that moment.
If we’re of a worldly mind, we might hear thunder. The religious might hear angels. But those with a relationship will hear God’s voice.
Sometimes we’re simply too busy to slow down to listen – we hear rumbling in the distance. Other times we know God is near, but we don’t want to make the effort to pursue him. But when we’re close to him – when we’re walking with him like John was – we can hear very clearly God’s message to us.
Here’s my kindly-pastoral warning: the holiday season is here. Thanksgiving is around the corner and then December will fly by. You will be too busy! If we’re not careful, we’ll get to Christmas having heard a month full of thunder or angels. Slow down. Listen for the Voice.