The Bare Soul - May 20, 2012
Ears to Hear, Eyes to See

Matthew 11:15 - He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Most of us listen better, at times, better than others. Wives might comment and say that men have selective hearing where they become attentive when it is only something that interests them. There is probably some truth in this. Conversely, spiritual hearing and godly sight seem to be gifts that we can choose to accept or reject. Several times in the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus use the ear as a metaphor for understanding the word of the Lord. For instance, our lead verse is Jesus' final word to the crowd after telling them the Parable of the Sower. I believe it is important to note how Jesus uses this phrase (and others which are similar) when He is teaching those who have come to hear Him preach. The multitudes are admonished to choose to "hear" what Jesus is telling them. It is not a command or necessarily a demanding statement, but more of a plea. Jesus knew, both then and now, how the vast majority will not have ears to hear. Many in Jesus' day did not seek to understand, in the same way as many today refuse to look for the Lord's wisdom (Proverbs 2:3-5).

According to the Scriptures, Jesus does not seem to require spiritual sight before spiritual hearing. He understood then as well as now how mankind must first be able to hear the word. For in so doing, faith will come by hearing (Romans 10:17). Often, people want spiritual sight without first hearing what God is saying to us His word. They abort the process of true understanding by not allowing the word of God to do what it must in a man's ears, then in his heart. As aforementioned, faith and true understanding can only come once the word of God is allowed to fall into the fertile soil of which Jesus spoke (Mark 4:8). As the parable suggests, the word of God is a seed (Mark 4:14). Jesus tells us unless a grain of wheat (or a seed) falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone. If, however, it dies it brings it brings forth much fruit (John 12:24). Within context of this passage in John, Jesus is speaking of His own death and His soon to come resurrection. However, He is also speaking for us today so we might understand that when we hear the word of God---and we can identify with Christ's death and resurrection within us---then we will also grow up in Christ to bear much fruit. At this stage begins the journey of spiritual sight.

Even as a plant is unseen while it is growing in the soil, it is nevertheless still a plant. However, when it breaks the ground's surface, then it becomes evident to all. It instinctively turns toward the sun to reap the benefit of its life giving power. In a real sense, it now has "eyes to see" which way to turn to most benefit from this solar energy. (It is quite remarkable to watch sunflowers do this during the course of the day as they follow the sun's course.) While a plant may not yet bring forth fruit, it is obvious to all when it buds and then blossoms, that fruit will one day appear. These are most demonstrable through sight (although smell might be involved regarding the blossom's fragrance). As already stated, the word of God can only come to life within us when we hear the word of God and then die to self and live to Jesus. It should be noted how Jesus only mentioned "eyes to see" in regard to those who were converted, such as the disciples. While the Scriptures show us how hearing the word of God is our choice, it is also our choice to have "eyes to see." Jesus reprimanded the disciples when He said, "Having eyes to see, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear?" The Lord is telling the disciples they have been saved through the hearing of the word and the understanding of spiritual eyesight. Now, they must walk in it.

As believers, we no longer have a critical need for "ears to hear" as we did when we came to the Lord. We have heard the word of God and he has implanted it within us which is able to save our souls (James 1:21). What we need, if we are truly saved, is spiritual sight. Paul prays in Ephesians 1:18 for the eyes of their hearts to be enlightened. He knows they have heard the word within their hearts. Now, they need to walk in it with faith and obedience. Jesus' words to those most in need of correction in Revelation 3 was to buy "eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see" (Revelation 3:18). Hearing the word of God is good. However, we must go beyond merely hearing and perfect our sight with eyes of faith. For if we see with our eyes, hear with our ears, and understand with our hearts and return to our God, then He will make us mature sons and daughters of the King (Matthew 13:15). However, if we merely hear the word of God and do not allow the Lord to open our spiritual eyes, then we will bring forth no fruit and be ineffective for Christ's kingdom. How shall we respond? Shall we desire to not only hear, but to see ourselves as God sees us? If we will, He will grow us into the image of His Son as we continue to turn toward His glory and grace!

Holy Father, thank you for sending Your word. Thank you for implanting the seed of hope within our hearts. Now, let us see how we must continue to grow in faith and obedience. Give us eyes to see the glorious heritage You have given all whom You have redeemed. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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