Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Whoever Has Ears To Hear, Let Them Hear

Luke 14:1-34 NIV

Jesus at a Pharisee’s House

1One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, He was being carefully watched. 2There in front of Him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. 3Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, He healed him and sent him on his way.

5Then He asked them, “If one of you has a childa or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” 6And they had nothing to say.

7When He noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, He told them this parable:8“When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 

11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

12Then Jesus said to His host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

The Parable of the Great Banquet

15When one of those at the table with Him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the Kingdom of God.”

16Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

18“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’

19“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

20“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’

21“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

22“ ‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

23“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’ ”

The Cost of Being a Disciple

25Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them He said: 26“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be My disciple. 27And whoever does not carry their cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple.

28“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

31“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.33In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be My disciples.

34“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

Jesus often said this after He taught something difficult to grasp. The first time was when He told them that John the Baptist was the Elijah that was prophesied (Matthew 11:15). The next time was after the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:9). The third time was after Jesus taught about Hell and Heaven (Matthew 13:43). The final time it is used in the Gospels is when Jesus taught about being salt and the value of worthless salt (Luke 14:35). A similar phrase appears in Revelation where John writes, He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

What does this phrase mean? It was not physical ears that Jesus was referring to, but spiritual ears. He who has spiritual ears (understanding), understand.  It means let him (or her) who has a teachable spirit receive what is being taught. Let him who is willing to accept it, receive the Word.

There are some people who, because they have a closed mind, will not believe some things regardless of the evidence that is produced. Jesus taught us this. This is why He did not spend time arguing with the Pharisees. He knew that no matter what He said or what proof they saw, they would not be convinced. They didn’t believe what they already had and what they already knew.

The same was true of the rich man’s brothers. If they would not believe God, why would they believe someone who supposedly rose from the dead? Jesus said to some it was given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven and too others it was not (Matthew 13:11; Luke 8:10).

What does it mean to have ears to hear? Jesus again gives us the answer in Matthew 13:14, 15.

In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“ ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

Having ears to hear means that one will understand with their heart, turn and follow God in response.

So what did I learn from this encounter? Proverbs 26:4 says, “Do not answer the foolish arguments of fools or you will become as foolish as they are (NLT).” In other words, we should attempt to rebuke and correct, but when you see your answers falling on deaf ears, cease and move on. They do not have ears to hear so you are just wasting your breath and/or time.

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