Understanding with the Heart

Nov 21, 2014 1267

Blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear – Matthew 13:16

How shocking were the words of Jesus to the religious people of his day! To them, he says that they fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah when he wrote,

You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
 you will be ever seeing but never perceiving… Otherwise, they might understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them’ (vv.14–15).

Here, in a broad sweep, Christ summarises the religious experience of a whole generation of the people of his day. They are always sitting in church (synagogue), carefully listening to the preaching and the Bible studies. They read the right religious books and watch the right religious TV programmes. They carefully complied with everything their church asked them to do.

Because of all of this, they believe that they are privileged above others, and certainly far above those who do not belong to their church.

But here is the tragedy. God says that in spite of all their religious practice and devotion, they have never repented, and they are still unhealed.

Paul describes these people as those who are,

always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth – 2 Tim 3:7

Jesus says to them that in spite of all their religious study, in spite of all of their church faithfulness and devotion, they are actually never understanding what it’s all about. They never actually get it.

Understanding with the Heart isn’t the same as Knowing

They were always only trying to understand with their eyes and their ears but refused to understand with their hearts. They were good at logic but bad at surrender. They confused knowing many things with faith.

There’s nothing wrong with studying. There’s nothing wrong with religious devotion. As long as it is grounded on the message of the gospel, and focused on Jesus Christ.

But the people refused to see Christ, and no-one and nothing else, as the centre and focus of all truth and experience.

To this day, these words of Christ remain an enormous challenge to us.

To his disciples, Christ says,

Blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear – Matthew 13:16

To be “blessed” is to be happy. We all need the happiness that Christ has to offer. We all need the good news.

This is why too many Christians are not happy people. Many will tell you that they are, but their happiness is that of a sad and gloomy life of misery that has simply to be put up with so that one day in eternity they might get a glimpse of glory. And the more they share that misery, the holier they feel.

We need to learn to see Jesus with our eyes, and to hear him with our ears, so that we will understand with our hearts.

Don’t let the pressures of this world, or the pressures of secular or religious society, keep you from the joy of the Lord!

Grace and peace

Eliezer

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