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 came to fulfill prophecies God had sent long ago, that the people might hear His words and see His work and believe. It wasn’t for lack of communication or lack of knowledge that we failed, but a failure of heart and spirit that keep us from coming to Jesus fully. We hear and see, but we don’t ask and accept.
The words of the prophet Isaiah from many years before are prominent in this lesson – “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes” (v .15). How it must hurt God that we have calloused hearts, toughened spirits no longer feeling the pain of others, deaf ears and blind eyes that are closed to the needs of the world. We are so often focused only on ourselves that we fail to understand the blessings we have been given and the responsibilities they entail.
Jesus continues with the rest of the quote from Isaiah: “Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them” (v.15). Even in our unseeing, unhearing and unfeeling, God loves us and wants us to come to Him. May we all turn to Him today that the world might be healed.
Gracious God, we are burdened by sin and sick with the guilt of ignoring each other. Help us to live as Your people, aware of our constant need for Your love and forgiveness, and ready to answer Your call on our lives. Amen.