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Matthew 13:13-15

Hearing Problems

13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Last week someone sent me the following story by email :

"While walking along the sidewalk in front of his church, our minister heard the intoning of a prayer that nearly made his collar wilt. Apparently his five-year-old son and his playmates had found a dead robin. Feeling that proper burial should be performed, they had secured a small box and cotton batting, then dug a hole and made ready for the disposal of the deceased. The minister's son was chosen to say the appropriate prayers and with sonorous dignity intoned his version of what he thought his father always said. 'Glory be unto the Faaaather....and unto the Sonnnn.... and into the hole you goooo.'"

Kids stories always make such great illustrations to help us understand our own shortcomings. This five-year-old had heard but he did not hear. He had evidently listened to his father repeat those words several times, but he never quite understood what he meant by them. Repeating them phonetically revealed the defect in his understanding.

In our passage, Jesus continued His explanation of why He taught in parables. In the previous passage, He had revealed that God, by His grace alone, had granted some people the ability to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. This, due to our bondage to sin, is the only way that we can understand.

According to Jesus, another reason that He spoke in parables was because of the sinful natures of His audience. They heard His words, but, unlike His disciples, they did not want to understand. Thus, He taught in parables to make it even more difficult for them, so that they would not come to understand in spite of themselves. Mark made this clearer, "...but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."

It is not God who has blinded nor deafened them. "Their heart is waxed gross." Literally this means that their heart had become fat and heavy. It is another way of expressing the idea of a heart turned against God, a hardened heart. Continuing in verse 15, we read,"...and their eyes they have closed..." Such persons would not be saved.

Jesus said that this was the fulfillment of Isaiah 6:9-10. The word "fulfilled" could be translated as "fulfilled again." It was fulfilled in Isaiah's day, completed in Jesus' ministry, but continues to see fulfillment even today.

This entire passage reminds me of the many people who have told me that they neither read nor study their Bible, because they do not understand it. These are not drug dealers nor alcoholics, but upstanding members of their churches... deacons, elders, committee members, and other leaders. You will find them in your choir, praise team, Sunday school class and every department of the church. Are they any different from the people who opposed Jesus? These people have heard the word preached, but do not understand. Yet, they pride themselves on being "religious leaders" in their community.

Before The Throne:

I am sure you know some of those of whom Jesus was speaking. Write down their names in your prayer journal and make intercession for them. Ask the Lord to grant them His grace, to open their eyes and ears, and to grant them understanding. Your prayers may be their only hope.

For Further Study:

Deut 29:3-4; Isa 42:18-20; Isa 44:18; Jer 5:21; Ezek 12:2; Mark 8:17-18; John 3:19-20; John 9:39-41; 2Cor 4:3-4;

(v.14) ** the prophecy. Isa 6:9-10; Ezek 12:2; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:39-40; Acts 28:25-27; Rom 11:8-10; 2Cor 3:14;

(v.15) ** heart. Ps 119:70; ** ears. Zech 7:11; John 8:43-44; Acts 7:57; 2Tim 4:4; Heb 5:11; ** their eyes. Isa 29:10-12; Isa 44:20; 2Thess 2:10-11; ** and should be. Acts 3:19; 2Tim 2:25-26; Heb 6:4-6; ** and I. Isa 57:18; Jer 3:22; Jer 17:14; Jer 33:6; Hos 14:4; Mal 4:2; Mark 4:12; Rev 22:2;


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