A Bible Study by Paula Yingst …
My mother-in-law gave birth to a son and a daughter who are deaf. She is a woman of incredibly strong faith. As her children were growing up, she often prayed for healing, but to this day, their hearing has not been restored.
What’s up with that?
Sometimes we talked about the amazing adults the two have become and how their lives have inspired and influenced so many, despite (and because of) their “special needs.” Mom and I agree: God had a divine reason and purpose for saying ‘no’ to those specific prayers.
When Jesus wanted to emphasize a point that may not have seemed clear to his audience, He sometimes used a phrase similar to this one: “If you have ears, then hear!” In retrospect, it’s apparent that He wasn’t speaking so much about the ability to “hear” spiritual truth as He was about making an effort to understand it.
Here is an example (my personal favorite) …
While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
‘though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.’ [Isaiah 6:9]
“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”
(Luke 8:4-15, New International Version, 2010)
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT: After Jesus told the parable the first time, even His closest friends and followers didn’t ‘get it.’ So He gave them a “prophecy connection” to the prophet Isaiah, who had foretold that the coming Messiah would speak in parables, and most individuals would fail to understand their deep layers of meaning. THEN Jesus patiently explained what God wanted them to realize and how they should respond to produce the most profitable ‘crop.’ Which ‘seed’ best describes you?