Are you listening?
“Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!”
Matthew 13:43 (NLT)
During His ministry Jesus often concluded a lesson by saying, ‘anyone with ears to hear should listen’, for example in the parable of the sower and the parable of the tares. Also in the book of Revelation, John records the risen Jesus saying to the churches of Asia, for example: “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.” (Revelation 3:6)
What is the point of these sayings? Jesus is saying, pay attention and listen, what is being said is very important. In Mark’s gospel Jesus says, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Then Jesus added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more…But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.” (Mark 4:23-25). Scripture describes three types of listeners:
- The dull of hearing – described in Hebrews 5:11 (RSV), ’About this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.’ When a person has this problem, it’s hard to explain things to them. The fault is not with the subject material, or the presenter, but with the listener!
- Those with itching ears – described by Paul to Timothy: ‘For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.’ (2 Timothy 4:3). Some people only listen to what is pleasing to them.
- Those who hear with a noble and a good heart – Jesus spoke of these in Luke 8:15, “And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.”
How important then is listening? When it comes to Jesus, it is very important. It is essential for our understanding and for the good of our souls.
So, let’s really listen to Jesus’s words and put them into practice in our lives.
Father, thank you for your grace to stand strong. Grant that we will have attentive ears to listen, understand, and put into practice your words and instructions. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Study by Dennis Payne
About the writer:
Dennis Payne is a Deacon in the Central London congregation of Grace Communion International.
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