I wrote recently that while I was reading Revelation 19:6-8, I heard a rushing sound that caused me to perk up, thinking, “That was neat!” Then, because I have significant hearing loss in my right ear, I realized I’d forgotten to put my hearing aid in that morning. I don’t know what I heard or even if it was all in my head spurred by the verse, but as I was going to get my artificial ear, I wondered more about Jesus’ parabolic statements about having an ear to hear (Luke 8:4-8, for example).
Jesus taught through parables so those who didn’t want to understand about the kingdom of God would remain in the dark (that was their choice, not his; John 3:19-21; Romans 1:21). On the other hand, those who wanted to understand would be able to get the point because they’d seek for the answer (Luke 8:9-15; 11:5-13; Acts 17:11).
Jesus meant his teaching to be heard and heeded and he didn’t pull any punches about what he expected (James 1:16-18; Hebrews 6:17-18). Sometimes, he ended a parable with a question to make his listeners admit that they had heard and understood his point (Matthew 21:33-46; Luke 7:40-43; 10:25-37).
There’s nothing artificial about how God presented his will through the New Testament and we’re to still pay attention to what he says because the commands and promises remain unchanged today from when they were first spoken (2 Corinthians 4:1-4; 1 Peter 1:22-25; Hebrews 2:1-4; Acts 2:38-39). Jesus even stated that he said exactly what the Father told him to say and that the Spirit to be sent by the Father would remind them of his teachings (John 7:16; 14:24-26; 16:12-15). The inspired writers, therefore, wrote only what the Spirit told them to so the commands and promises would be clear and easy to understand for those with an honest heart (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Romans 7:7-8; Ephesians 3:1-5; 1 John 5:1-3).
Consequently, we need to keep our ears perked to hear what the Spirit says and not listen artificially (Hebrews 3:7-11). Everyone will be responsible for what Jesus said on earth and through the Spirit after he ascended back to heaven so the word can take root and grow and produce fruit (John 12:47-50; 8:47; Luke 8:18; Matthew 13:1-23). Otherwise, their faith will be built on the wrong foundation (Mathew 7:24-27; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Acts 4:12).
Even though the New Testament is written down with the parables explained, those who want to know the truth of the kingdom may still need to have some points explained to them (1 Corinthians 13:8-10; 2:10-16; Romans 10:8-17; Acts 8:26-39; 22:16). However one learns, whether being properly taught or by diligent (honest and in depth having a noble heart), personal study of the Bible, they can come to know the truth (Matthew 7:21-23; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 2 Timothy 2:15).
Do you have ears that hear as you read the parables and other teachings of Jesus in the New Testament?
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org