The Bible gives plain truth bearing in mind that the seductions in human culture has potential to lure our flesh to deceive our mind hence, human imagination is a deep pit. God’s voices arrives out of His Holy Scriptures. When we open the Bible, we open the mouth of God’s Holy Spirit in our life and when we shut the Bible, we lock the mouth of the Holy Spirit. The reflection is that when the Bible is rejected or ignored, nothing will be revealed, except human imaginations and ideas. Faith hears God’s voice, unbelief denies God’s voice.
When the voice of the Shepherd reached Zaccheus, his conversion followed. When Lydia heard the outward voice of Paul, It was the inward voice of Jesus Christ which opened her heart. The reflection is that all Christ’s followers hear his voice in the time of duty. We hear God’s voice teaching and directing us what to say and where to go,”The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, he leadeth me beside the still water.” In such a time and age when the world and even the church are in divisions, perplexities, and know not what to do, the sheep of Christ hear his voice and follow him.
The sheep of Christ also hear his voice in the time of prayer and through scriptural proclamation. Christianity is not a set of ideas. It is not a philosophy or an ideology. Christianity is a relationship with someone who has a voice. The early disciples were privileged to hear the voice of historical Jesus. Today we hear his voice when we pray and when we hear the scripture proclaimed. We can sit just as Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and hear the word, “Come unto me, and I will give you rest … My grace is sufficient for you … Fear not, for I am with thee…”
The sheep of Christ hear his voice in time of affliction and even in death. In the hour of affliction, the sheep hear his voice, “When thou passes through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers they shall not overflow thee…” In our reading today from the Acts of the Apostles, in the hour of death, when the ‘Christless’ were weeping and crying, hearing nothing but sorrow and coming wrath, the sheep, Dorcas heard the voice of Christ through Peter and she was restored to life (Acts 9:36-43). When death claim victory like in the case of Dorcas and Lazarus, the stories of God’s involvement with God’s sheep, the rule was broken. Dorcas and Lazarus are renewing example.
The gospel today reminds of our world and the church characterised by death, decline, illness, hatred, corruption, war and greed and yet declares that eternal life is the new order of the day. Jesus’ resurrection embodies an assurance that death will not have the last word hence, we are called to be his sheep hearing and obeying his voice by living a life where death have no final sway.
The church today needs Peter’s arrival to proclaim hope and to declare God’s voice to the death in our Upper Rooms. Just as Dorcas was laid at the Upper Room, the church today is laid at the Upper Room ready for its funeral and we need humility to allow and send for Peter to declare God’s voice over the church and our nations. The sad news is that Dorcas’ good work and charitable deeds could not restore her. In essence, good work without faith to hear God’s voice is death. God is saying to the church enough of washing the church in human strength and body lotions; it is time we allow Peter to the Upper Room. For the church to come alive just as Dorcas was restored, Peter put out all the weeping widows. Indeed, the sheep of Christ hear his voice even in death, Peter ‘knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up…’ (Acts 940-41). The challenge for the church today is not following Jesus, our challenge is recognising Jesus’ voice” in the seductions of today’s culture and compromise.
The voice of Christ through Peter behind the miracle that raised Dorcas helped the infant church to spread and grow. It is good to know the reason why many can not see the light or hear the voice of Christ today. Spiritual blindness keeps many from seeing the glory of God in the same way that spiritual deafness keeps many from hearing the voice of God. Apostle Paul said, “The God of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God” (2 Cor 4:4). The voice of Christ is an alien voice to many today because it is in contrast to the lies and seductions in today’s culture. For the death in the Upper Room of our nations, homes, marriage, and the church to experience the miracle of the voice of Christ, let us pray and ask God to open the eyes of our hearts; and to open the ears of of our hearts in Jesus’name.