Our scripture this week is Matthew 13:1-17.
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 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.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
Jesus once again shares a parable with the people, but then goes on to explain to the disciples why He uses these. It sounds a little confusing, to them and us! The scripture from Isaiah 6:9 says “Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving”, a warning to the people that they must pay attention to the prophets’ teachings and not ignore God’s commands.
Jesus knows that some of the people are very earnest in their desire to understand and obey, but many are living only for themselves and pay no attention to what He teaches. Jesus is not choosing some over others, they have made the choice themselves. He isn’t hiding the truth from them, they are ignoring it.
We have the same opportunity and the same risk as the people then. We make our own choice to listen and follow Jesus or to put our desires first. When we choose to hear and understand, we can be blessed beyond measure and be a part of His ministry to the world.
Loving Lord, we are often slow to hear to the call You place on our lives. Help us to be attentive listeners and energetic workers for Your kingdom. Amen.