“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him!” (Mt. 17:1-9)
A few years ago, a close friend experienced a massive brain hemorrhage and was taken to the hospital. A brain scan indicated that he would not survive. I went to the hospital in the morning and then again in the afternoon to support him, his wife and family.
While the prognosis was fairly certain, the timing was not. After spending most of the day at the hospital, I decided to go home for dinner. After dinner, I was tired and my first inclination was not to return to the hospital, but then the question started coming into my mind, “What if he dies tonight?” The question started to nag at me. It wouldn’t go away. Then it dawned on me to ask, “Is that you Lord? Do you want me to go back to the hospital?” I grabbed my Bible and headed out the door.
When I arrived in his room, there were now more friends beside the family. We gathered around my friend’s bed and began to pray, read psalms and other passages from the Bible. We sang hymns that were familiar to him and his family. Our mood went from being somber to a realization that we were assisting our good friend in his passage from this life to the next. We began praising God for his life, and what he meant to his family and the rest of us.
The monitor started to show an irregular heartbeat, and the intervals between breaths were growing longer. After a few minutes the line on the monitor went flat. My friend had passed on to the embrace of God.
I believe that nagging question I heard after dinner, “What if he dies tonight?” was from Jesus and his Holy Spirit, leading me back to the hospital. What a privilege and blessing it was for me to be physically present as his soul and spirit left his body to be with God!
The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all report on an event known as the transfiguration of Jesus. In it, Jesus takes Peter, James and John up to a mountain where Jesus’ face and clothes begin to shine like the sun. Moses and Elijah appear and begin talking with Jesus. A cloud covers them and a voice from the cloud makes the opening statement above.
What a remarkable occurrence! God is speaking audibly and directly to the three disciples, confirming that Jesus is his son and that the disciples should listen to him.
We are blessed to have four different gospel writers handing down a treasure trove of Jesus’ words, teachings, and actions. One way for us to listen to Jesus is to read what he has to say, digest the meaning of his parables and observe his actions for the example they give us. But Jesus and his Holy Spirit can also speak to us in our thoughts.
I believe that Jesus wanted me to be with my friend and his family when he died. If I had not listened to him, I would have missed both the opportunity and the privilege.
Have there been times when Jesus has put a thought in your mind about something he wanted you to do?