[Jesus'] disciples came and asked him, "Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?"
He replied, "You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables,
For they look, but they don't really see.
They hear, but they don't really listen or understand.
"This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,
'When you hear what I say,
you will not understand.
When you see what I do,
you will not comprehend.
For the hearts of these people are hardened,
and their ears cannot hear,
and they have closed their eyes —
so their eyes cannot see,
and their ears cannot hear,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and let me heal them.'"
— Matthew 13:10-15 NLT
As Jesus' ministry has progressed, hostility and rejection have risen. The crowds that came for miracles are also now full of skeptics, critics, and enemies. A 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 and occasionally teach them, but his primary teaching will be to the disciples because most in the crowds 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 on 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.
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.
Related Scripture Readings
- Colossians 1:21-23
- Matthew 11:25-27
- 1 Corinthians 2:11-14
Other Devotionals from Heartlight for Monday, June 21, 2021
About This Devotional
What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.
What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.