“They look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand”

In Matthew 13:10-17, we learn that the road to understanding Jesus winds through many parables, and not all who travel that road make it through to the end.

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Why do you speak to the crowd in parables?”
He said to them in reply,
“Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven
has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.
To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich;
from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
This is why I speak to them in parables, because
they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.
Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:

‘You shall indeed hear but not understand,
you shall indeed look but never see.
Gross is the heart of this people,
they will hardly hear with their ears,
they have closed their eyes,
lest they see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their hearts and be converted
and I heal them.’

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see,
and your ears, because they hear.
Amen, I say to 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.”

Many are the “Christians” who are led astray by those who hear – indeed, read – the parables of Jesus the Christ and do not understand them, though they call themselves learned and informed by the Holy Spirit. Not everyone who hears or reads the words of Our Lord understands Him. And so you see great divisions within the greater Christian Church and you witness the chaos and calamity within the body of faith.

Take care, then, that you read Jesus’ words rather than simply listen to those who preach, and pray to Jesus the Christ and to the Father and the Holy Spirit that They open your mind and your heart and your soul that you may be given understanding. That knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven may be granted to you and that more will be given and you will grow rich in knowledge and faith.

It is not enough that we rely on those who say they know God’s word. We are accountable to God to read His words and try to understand them. And when what we read seems counter to what we are told, we must seek God’s help in understanding. For there are charlatans all around us, just as there were in Jesus’ day, whose purpose is not to move us forward in faith but to empower themselves.

A word of caution: The devil is at work, so we have to be careful who we listen to and what signals we tune ourselves to. Read Jesus’ words in the Gospels. Take them to heart. What are Jesus’ central messages and lessons?

God loves us. He wants us to prosper in faith. He wants us to love and be loved. And He wants us to share that with everyone in our lives. If you aren’t getting that central message from others, then perhaps those others are among those who look but do not see, hear but do not listen or understand.

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