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Basic Bible: Ears to Hear

Matthew 13:9-17

“Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (v. 9). Jesus spoke these words immediately after relating a parable to a great multitude which had gathered to hear Him teach. The parable which He spoke has been titled “The Parable of the Sower.” It is apparent that no one had the ears to hear the parable, not even the disciples, because Jesus supplied an explanation to them in verses 18-32.

His disciples asked Jesus why He spoke to the people in parables (v. 10). Jesus stated, “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” At first glance, it appears that the disciples were chosen to be given hidden knowledge concerning the kingdom of heaven and the individuals which made up the multitude were not chosen to be given understanding. The gospels, including the text before us, are preserved as scripture for God’s purposes. God would have all read His word and come to the saving knowledge of Christ Jesus. The reason that the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven is hidden is not because God wants anyone to perish.

In verse 12, Jesus states that those who have understanding shall be given more understanding and those who lack understanding shall lose the limited understanding which they possess. All New Testament believers know that which transpired at Pentecost. The Father sent the Comforter. The Comforter came and taught the disciples all things and brought to remembrance all that Jesus had said (Jn. 14:26). The Comforter imparted the increased understanding of which Jesus spoke.

What of those who lacked understanding? What was the understanding which they possessed concerning the kingdom of heaven? They believed that entry into the kingdom was dependent upon works which they could do. New Testament believers have been given hidden secrets. We know that entry into the kingdom of heaven is dependent upon the works which Jesus did. He fulfilled every requirement of the law and gave Himself as a ransom for all who would believe (Matt. 20:28). Those who lack the ears to hear must lose the understanding which they possess before they can receive the saving knowledge of Christ — He has paid it all. The lost become saved upon believing. The believing are given understanding.

Jesus answered why He spoke in parables in verse 13. Jesus wanted His listeners to realize that they did not possess correct understandings. One cannot understand God by power of intellect or by any other power that one may presume to possess. One’s understanding of God is limited to that which God provides. The baskets of those who look to themselves are empty.

In verse 14, Jesus informed the disciples that the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled in them who lacked understanding. The specific prophecy which Jesus cited is Isaiah 6:9-10. The Lord told Isaiah that the people would not hear the words which He would speak through his (Isaiah’s) lips. Isaiah was to prophesy of the judgment to come. That judgment was certain because the “people’s heart is waxed gross,” . . . they would not hear God speak; they would not turn from their ways; they would not be converted. The prophecy given to Isaiah was fulfilled in the multitude who heard, but did not understand. Their eyes could not see and their ears could not hear because they leaned upon their own understandings. They did not seek Him who is able to bring sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf.

The prophecy given to Isaiah did not apply to the disciples because they did not lean upon their own understandings. They came to and inquired of Him who is able to open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of those who hear not.

Jesus opened their eyes and unplugged their ears, saying, “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” Because they have been given eyes to see and ears to hear, they shall see mysteries (hidden things) which many prophets and many righteous have desired to see and to hear but have not heard or seen.

Today, the mysteries of the kingdom of God are revealed to all by the Son. The Father and the Son are one (Jn. 10:30). He who sees the Son, sees the father who sent Him (Jn. 12:45). “He that hath the Son hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (I Jn. 5:12).
The Father would have all men receive the ears to hear.

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