What Jesus Did! 'Wanting to Hear' — Matthew 13:10-15

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The followers came to Jesus and asked, "Why do you use these stories to teach the people?" Jesus answered, "Only you can know the secret truths about the kingdom of heaven. Those other people cannot know these secret truths. The person that has {some understanding} will be given more. And he will have even more than he needs. But the person that does not have {much understanding} will lose even the little {understanding} that he has. This is why I use these stories to teach the people: The people see, but they don't really see. The people hear, but they don't really understand. So these people show that the things Isaiah said about them are true: 'You people will listen and you will hear, but you will not understand. You people will look and you will see, but you will not understand what you see. Yes, the minds of these people (the Jews) are now closed. They have ears, but they don't listen. And they refuse to see {the truth}. If their minds were not closed, they might see with their eyes; they might hear with their ears; they might understand with their minds. Then they might turn back to me and be healed.'"
— Matthew 13:10-15
Illustration of Matthew 13:10-15 — "Why do you use these stories to teach the people?"

Key Thought

As Jesus' ministry has progressed, hostility and rejection has risen. The crowds who came for miracles are also now full of skeptics, critics, and enemies. This group will hear his words, but then refuse to really listen to the message. They see great acts of power, but refuse to believe that Jesus is from God. The time has come for Jesus to invest and equip his followers for what lies ahead. Jesus will continue to minister to the crowd, but he will no longer try to teach them because they refuse to truly listen. His message in stories, parables as they are sometimes called, allows him to conceal the power and radical claims of his Kingdom from those who will not believe and do not seek the truth. At same the time, his stories reveal the powerful message of God's Kingdom to the hearts of those seeking truth and following Jesus. The point for us is that our ability to hear and believe is based more upon our hearts than our hearing! It has to do more with what we're seeking than in the flair of what is being said. Jesus' words are a great reminder of how important words are, especially his words.

Today's Prayer

O God my Father, give me a heart that longs and seeks after you and your truth. Don't let Satan harden my heart to your truth. Forgive me of personal sins, which I openly and fully confess, and liberate and protect me from Satan's power to use them to destroy and debilitate. Father, help me hear with my heart and not just my ears. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Many, many people gathered around Jesus. So Jesus got into a boat and sat down. All the people stayed on the shore. Then Jesus used stories to teach the people many things. Jesus said: "A farmer went out to plant his seed. While the farmer was planting, some seed fell by the road. The birds came and ate all that seed. Some seed fell on rocky ground. The ground there did not have enough dirt. The seed grew very fast there, because the ground was not deep. But when the sun rose, it burned the plants. The plants died because they did not have deep roots. Some other seed fell among thorny weeds. The weeds grew and stopped the good plants from growing. Some other seed fell on good ground. In the good ground, the seed grew and made grain. Some plants made 100 times more grain. Some plants made 60 times more, and some made 30 times more grain. You people that hear me, listen!" The followers came to Jesus and asked, "Why do you use these stories to teach the people?" Jesus answered, "Only you can know the secret truths about the kingdom of heaven. Those other people cannot know these secret truths. The person that has {some understanding} will be given more. And he will have even more than he needs. But the person that does not have {much understanding} will lose even the little {understanding} that he has. This is why I use these stories to teach the people: The people see, but they don't really see. The people hear, but they don't really understand. So these people show that the things Isaiah said about them are true: 'You people will listen and you will hear, but you will not understand. You people will look and you will see, but you will not understand what you see. Yes, the minds of these people (the Jews) are now closed. They have ears, but they don't listen. And they refuse to see {the truth}. If their minds were not closed, they might see with their eyes; they might hear with their ears; they mightunderstand with their minds. Then they might turn back to me and be healed. But you are blessed. You understand the things you see with your eyes. And you understand the things you hear with your ears. I tell you the truth. Many prophets and good people wanted to see the things that you now see. But they did not see these things. And many prophets and good people wanted to hear the things that you now hear. But they did not hear these things. "So listen to the meaning of that story about the farmer. What is the seed that fell by the path? That seed is like the person that hears the teaching about the kingdom but does not understand it. The Evil One (the devil) comes and takes away the things that were planted in that person's heart. And what is the seed that fell on rocky ground? That seed is like the person that hears the teaching and quickly and gladly accepts that teaching. But that person does not let the teaching go deep into his life. He keeps that teaching only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the teaching he accepted, then he quickly quits. And what is the seed that fell among the thorny weeds? That seed is like the person that hears the teaching but lets worries about this life and love for money stop that teaching from growing. So the teaching does not make fruit {in that person's life}. But what is the seed that fell on the good ground? That seed is like the person that hears the teaching and understands it. That person grows and makes fruit, sometimes 100 times more, sometimes 60 times more, and sometimes 30 times more."

Matthew 13:1-23

Related Scripture Readings

At one time you were separated from God. You were God's enemies in your minds, because the evil things you did were against God. But now Christ has made you God's friends again. Christ did this by his death while he was in his body. Christ did this so that he could bring you before God. He brings you before God as people who are holy, with no wrong in you, and with nothing that God can judge you guilty of. Christ will do this if you continue to believe in the Good News you heard. You must continue strong and sure in your faith. You must not be moved away from the hope that Good News gave you. That same Good News has been told to all people in the world. I, Paul, help in telling that Good News.

Colossians 1:21-23

Then Jesus said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. I praise you because you have hidden these things from the wise and smart people. But you have shown these things to people that are like little children. Yes, Father, you did this because this is what you really wanted to do. "My Father has given me all things. No person knows the Son—only the Father knows the Son. And no person knows the Father—only the Son knows the Father. And the only people that will know about the Father are those people the Son chooses to tell.

Matthew 11:25-27

It is like this: No person knows the thoughts that another person has. Only that person's spirit that lives inside him knows those thoughts. It is the same with God. No one knows the thoughts of God. Only the Spirit of God knows those thoughts. We did not receive the spirit of the world. But we received the Spirit that is from God. We received this Spirit so that we can know the things that God has given us. When we speak these things, we don't use words taught to us by the wisdom that men have. We use words taught to us by the Spirit. We use spiritual words to explain spiritual things. A person that is not spiritual does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. That person thinks that those things are foolish. That person cannot understand the things of the Spirit, because those things can only be judged spiritually.

1 Corinthians 2:11-14

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.