When God speaks, what does He say?

Two stories that are in Matthew, Mark and Luke provide the answer. God spoke in an audible voice in both. Let's take a look.

The first event was Jesus' baptism. This marked the beginning of His ministry. God the Father chose to speak. Here is how Matthew recorded this event.

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately He went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on Him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." Matthew 3:16-17 (ESV)

On this occasion, when God spoke, He spoke about His Son. He identified Jesus to Israel as His Son, the very Son of God. Then He uttered the words all of us long to hear, "with whom I am well pleased."

On the next occasion, God spoke to a small group made up of Jesus, Peter, James and John. Six days after Jesus asked his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" He led Peter, James and John, His inner circle of followers, to the top of a mountain.

There, Jesus was transfigured right before their eyes. As Matthew wrote, Jesus' "face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light." These three men witnessed the majesty of Jesus. Moses and Elijah appeared confirming the testimony of the Law and Prophets regarding Jesus. It was an extraordinary moment for the disciples, one to be fully absorbed. Nothing needed to be said.

 

Yet, Peter could not keep quiet: "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah."

"While he was still speaking…" It was as if Peter's words just wafted away in the wind unnoticed, unheard. Another voice would deliver the words that would honor this august occasion. While Peter's mouth kept moving, "a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!"

Matthew concluded with this: "When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't be afraid." When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus." Matthew 17:6-8 (NIV)

When God speaks, He speaks about His Son.

God's word, the Bible, is God's testimony concerning His Son. Passage after passage confirms this to be so. One of my favorites is in the Gospel of John. The Apostle lets us listen in on one of the many conversations Jesus had with the Pharisees. It was contentious. Jesus had healed a man of the Sabbath, and the Pharisees were none too happy.

"What gave Him the authority to violate the Sabbath traditions?" they wondered among themselves. Jesus answered clearly, "You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life."

Jesus is God's word to man.

All of us cry out to God at times in hopes of hearing a word from Him. We want Him to be specific in His answer. Lord, just tell me what job I should take, or who I should marry, or please just let me know what Your will is for my life. And we think if only God would do for us what He did for Peter, James and John on the mount of Transfiguration. But the bright cloud never comes and the heavens remain silent.

If it did happen, the message we would hear would be identical to the words the Apostles heard. God's word to us is Jesus. Regardless of our situation, we are to trust Him. That is God's will for us. It sounds so simple. But let me ask: If you were God, what would you say to mankind? What message would you deliver to a world mired in sin, crippled by its devastating consequences?

Peter and John knew what to say when given the chance. On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood and delivered the first sermon. "Fellow Israelites," he began, "Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God…" John's first letter begins this way: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life."

Jesus is the answer to every need of the human heart. When we turn to Him, we experience peace, contentment and rest for our souls. There is no other message worth proclaiming.

 

For more information on this subject, a suggested resource is Hear It. Believe It. Live It. (CDHBL).