Ears to Hear
Taught July 30, 2023
Table of Contents
Watch & Listen
Our lesson this week, as I have been saying all quarter, is one that covers scripture we have recently gone over. We have been taking a look at, not just this quarter, but in one my recent series of sermons, the kingdom of heaven condition in the world; we have been taking a look at whether or not our soul is ready for the Lord. Now, our lesson this week takes a look at how one gets their soul ready for the Lord.
Listening to God
Our scripture for today comes at the end of Jesus sharing the Parable of the Sower. In the Parable of the Sower, if you remember my sermon – From a Tiny Seed – you will recall that there are different surfaces that the sower sowed seed in; the wayside, stony ground, thorny ground, and lastly, good ground. The seed that was sown could only grow in the good ground as it was destroyed in the other surfaces.
The sown seed of God
Now, the sower of the seed, you should understand, is representative of Christ. The ground that is spoken of in the parable, is representative of all people; we can either end up being like the wayside, stony ground, thorny ground, or like good fertile ground. The seed sown by Christ is representative of the Word of God as Jesus sowed the Word in the world.
The goal of all sowers is that the seed they have sown to take root, spring up, and grow. As I said in my series of sermons – The Harvest of God – no planter sows a seed and wishes for it not to take root and grow. In fact, no gardener plants a plant and wishes for that plant not to bear any fruit. Jesus sowed the Word of God with the hope that we will receive the Word so that it can take root within us and flourish.
So, with that in mind, Jesus said to the disciples, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear (v.9).” In other words, we should be attentive to the Word of God; we should be listening to comprehend and then move accordingly by the Word. You should desire to be good fertile ground so that the Word of God can take root and grow within you.
Understanding the mysteries of God
After Jesus shared the Parable of the Sower, the disciples asked Him, “Why do you speak to [the people] in parables (v.10)?” Jesus used parables to teach in a manner to explain the spiritual – the kingdom of heaven – in a way that the people could understand. So, Jesus would use earthly illustrations to convey a
In order for us to flourish through the Word of God, we must understand the Word. Now, when it comes to the parables, there is often a misconception in that we often believe parables were used for the people to easily understand Jesus’ message. However, what’s fascinating is that after teaching parables, the disciples was often left confused and would ask Jesus to further explain Himself
So, in His response to the disciples’ question, Jesus explained that He taught in parables because it has been given to the disciples to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven but not to the people (v.11).” Now, what does this answer mean? I bring up this question because I don’t think Jesus’ answer would sound like the answer many of us would have expected.
The twelve, as I stated in a lesson earlier this quarter, were chosen by Jesus for the purpose of closely following Him and learning from Him directly; they were in training to preach the gospel of God (Mark 3:13). In their training, the disciples learned and began to crave to know more about the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus explained that it was given to the disciples to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. The only reason why heaven was a mystery was because the people were refusing to listen to the Lord. Let us consider that the Lord gave the children of Israel, after they were freed from Egypt, the law so that they could become holy and righteous. Let us also consider that the Lord gave Israel the prophets so that they could come to know the kingdom of heaven, but sadly, the prophets and the law were rejected.
Jesus came to the world to share the divine truth, but we must understand that the world had already been rejecting the divine truth. So, essentially, the parables did convey a spiritual message using earthly illustrations, but at the same time, Jesus saw the parables as a test. You may now be asking yourself, “a test?”
The disciples, when they were confused by the parables, would ask Jesus to further explain His teaching. Why did they do this? Because the disciples craved to understand! As Jesus said in the next verses, those who desire to learn more can learn more as the Lord will give them understanding in abundance (v.13). However, those that don’t ask questions, will never gain any understanding; Jesus teaching in parables fulfilled prophecy as well (v.14)
So, yes, the parables were a test for the people. The people, if they truly wanted to understand the Word of God, then they would have sought to learn even more after hearing the parables. Nicodemus is a good example of one who had heard Jesus’ teachings and sought Him out so that He could gain a full understanding. Nicodemus is one of the very few Pharisees named in scripture that believed and followed Christ.
Open to listening to God
I tell you, some of the parables may be easy to understand, but after all of these years of going over the parables, I find myself still seeing new things and learning new things from them. I am of the opinion that scripture is difficult for one to understand if they are just quickly glancing at scripture. Scripture is incredibly difficult for one to understand, especially, if they are trying to do so without guidance from the Holy Spirit.
The Word of God itself, like parables, is a test for the world. What do I mean by that? Many people give up on the Lord because the Word is difficult to understand. Many people take a look at scripture and because they cannot easily understand scripture, they will believe that there’s something wrong with scripture. However, the truth of the matter is that there is nothing wrong with scripture, but more so, something wrong with us.
To the disciples, Jesus, while quoting prophecy from the book of Isaiah, stated, “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 what with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them (v.15).”
The world has been dull of hearing for a very long time now, dull hearing is not brand new. I shared a bible study earlier this year where I warned one of being dull of hearing. You see, when one is dull of hearing, there is no learning. Where there is no learning, there can be no growth. You and I have been put in this world to grow and to flourish, not remain stagnant. When we don’t grow as a being, we will make our home in a world that will perish; this means that those that don’t grow as a being will perish.
So, you and I must learn to be open to listening, especially to listening to the Word of God. When we are struggling to comprehend the Word, we should see God’s guidance for understanding. There is nothing wrong with asking the Lord for more understanding. As Jesus said, to those that seek, they will find (Matt. 7:7).
To all of us who continue to crave the Word of God and understanding, Jesus said, “blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear (v.16).” Many prophets and righteous men desired to see and hear what the twelve did but not see nor hear, Jesus said (v.17).
The closing verses to our lesson certainly touches on a point that the twelve were literally in the presence of Christ and witnessed things that nobody else did. However, you and I are blessed because we have seen and heard. Is this speaking about us seeing and hearing Christ while He was in the flesh? Of course not.
However, you and I have seen the truth through our spiritual eyes. You and I have received the truth through our spiritual ears. In other words, you and I are blessed because we have received the Word in our soul. Because we have received the Word in our soul, our soul grows and flourishes in holiness and righteousness.