Wednesday, March 2, 2016

ears to hear

The Word for today:
Matthew 13:1-23
How can one person love the Bible; while another person is indifferent to it; while another person despises it?
These varying reactions are not because of the Bible. They are because of the person.
Jesus' preferred method of teaching was through parables. These brief stories express God's truth in terms of everyday objects and incidents, but they are intelligible only through the working of God’s grace to those who are willing to listen. They are designed so that those who won’t hear don’t hear:
"Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,

Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.'"
 (Matthew 13:13-15)
When Jesus spoke the parables, the same word was delivered to every person, but it fell on different "soils."
So Jesus' parables tell us as much about the hearer as about the characters in the story. Many people were chasing Jesus around to see miracles--not to receive spiritual truth. Parables ferreted out which ones were there for the miracles, and which ones were there for the message of salvation.
Another benefit of Jesus' parables is that those with natural abilities (i.e. “smarter people”) have no advantage:
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:12-14)
The parables are designed so that if a person wants to understand, he will.
The parables are designed so that if a person does not want to understand, he won't.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.  (Luke 14:35)

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