9 “He who has ears, let him hear.”
11 (Jesus) answered (his disciples), “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven,
13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
“‘You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.
15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.
19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.
22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful
23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit
Jesus is telling about the secrets of the kingdom to his disciples.
He does not do this in plain simple language, though.
Jesus uses parables to tell “the secrets of the kingdom”.
Jesus states that every person “hears” the word.
But not every person “understands” the word.
Every person can “see” the world.
But not every person can “see” the kingdom.
I am struck by a big question confronting me this morning …
Do I want to be comfortable or do I want to understand the word and see the kingdom?
I’m not sure I can do both.
Two words are repeated before during and after Jesus’ parables.
“Hearing” and “understanding”.
And the two could not have more strikingly different outcomes.
Everyone hears, few understand.
And Jesus says, “to you have been given the secrets”.
So certainly there is a giving from God involved here.
As proverbs say to lean not on my understanding.
Also, repeatedly in Job it is stated that understanding comes from God.
What does soil do with seed? It receives.
So, I️ must receive what is being given.
But Jesus does not want me to simply lay back and “listen”.
This is more than simply hearing.
I️ can hear a lot through any given day.
I️ can surround myself all day with religious background noise through podcasts, online messages, music, even church activity.
How much am I️ receiving the kingdom, though?
A telltale signal will be: “Do I share in the “cares of the world” and the “deceitfulness of riches”?
Everyone wants to be comfortable in this world.
Do I simply seek the same comforts in this world?
Or do I seek understanding in the word?
The irony is only one is actually possible.
I will never be truly comfortable in this world unless I have understanding from the word!
Jesus says I must “understand with my heart and turn”.
So it is not about just “listening”.
Truly “hearing” is in the “giving of the secrets” from God.
But there is also a “turning of my heart” by me.
(Of course, this also is an act of grace we can discuss for another 1,000 years.)
And in a true turning of my heart, I will see the kingdom with a clarity that the cares of this world will look dull and empty to my newly opened eyes!
Thank you, God, for your Word
And that you enable me to understand it
To see your kingdom
And hear your voice
Help me Holy Spirit to share in your cares
In Jesus name