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REFLECTION Ears to Hear
by Pastor Jeff Morlock
As a preacher I'm sometimes comforted by the fact that even Jesus' sermons often bombed. The problem wasn’t his words of course, for they were the very words of God. The problem was stiff resistance from his audience. Today, we might say that people just looked down at their cell phones and moved on with their lives, unaffected by his teaching. “Let anyone with ears hear,” Jesus said. When someone does not have ears to truly listen, if they are not open to receive what is being offered, then it won’t matter how poignant the message is, or how skilled the messenger. You can marshal your best communication skills, your most persuasive arguments and most moving illustrations. But they won’t make one bit of difference.
We all have a disposition to remain deaf to the truth about God and ourselves, and no amount of trying harder will change that. My best friend in high school was Ed. He was physically deaf from birth, and communicated through sign language and lip reading. And telling someone who just doesn’t understand the gospel to try harder to understand would be like telling my friend Ed to try harder to hear. It just doesn't work that way. Not all problems in life can be fixed by more effort. That’s part of what it means to be human. If John the Baptist and even Jesus, the Word of God made flesh, could not get through to the spiritually indifferent, who can? Our human incapacity is so profound that no matter how much we try, we simply cannot perceive his Word, let alone obey it. Something else must happen. Just as the only hope for Nicodemus was a God who would re-birth him into the kingdom of God, so our only hope lies in the God who unstops deaf ears and opens blind eyes.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Clear our ears and slip past our carefully erected defenses, that we may know the truth about ourselves, and know you as God's grace and truth incarnate for us. Amen.
Lectio - Read today’s passage through once. Then spend some time praying and asking God to show you what you need to pay attention to in the text. Read it again. Now ask God to help you see what this text, and the part that has stood out, may mean for you. Don’t expect to get a clear word every time but always be ready to really hear from God through His Word.