As a follow up to my last post I want to more fully develop the dilemma I was referring to:
UNDERSTANDING THE COMMUNICATION.
Jesus the sinless Son of God encountered continuously human beings unable to understand Him.
We might ask: Is it any different today?
How is it you do not understand? He said to His disciples. (Matthew 16:10-12).
On another occasion we read in (Luke 18 verse 34): But they understood none of these things…
We are also told that Joseph and Mary …did not understand the statement which He (Jesus) spoke to them. (Luke 2:49-51)
Again at another time we read: They did not understand that He spoke to them of The Father.
It was the Jews that Jesus was addressing here, and we discover that they too didn’t understand. (John 8:26-28).
His disciples again didn’t get what The Lord was saying when He spoke of His betrayal: But they did not understand this saying and it was hidden from them so that they did not perceive it… (Luke 9:44-4).
The Pharisees listening to what Jesus said about a shepherd and sheep, were unable to get the meaning of the illustration: Jesus used this illustration but they did not understand the things He spoke to them (John 10:5-7).
Jesus plainly told His disciples on one occasion that the actions He had just taken would not be understood by them. But this time He added something that would bring a rest and an assurance, if they would take it on board. He added the words …but you will know after this…
In other words: You will not get it now, but there is coming a time when you will.
There will for example, come a time when we will fully understanding the things to do with the prophesies of the end times. (John 13:7).
On many occasions Jesus remonstrated with His hearers: with words similar to: Perceive you not yet…? How is it that you do not understand…?
He referred to those who shall hear and shall not understand He spoke of those who would hear not, nor understand…
And then as we move further into the New Testament and listen to God speaking in and through the Apostle Paul in the epistle to the Romans, we learn not just the disciples, not just the Jews, not just the Pharisees but ‘There is none that understands…’ (Romans 3:11).
Why is any Christian surprised today by the inability of non-Christians to appreciate what they have been saying about The Messiah, The Saviour of the world, The King of Kings and Lords of Lords?
History is repeating itself and they too don’t understand.
Clearly this understanding is something beyond the power of intellect alone, as no doubt there must have existed amongst the many people that Jesus was addressing, someone of an immense intellect – yet unable to understand.
But we are getting closer to somehow realising that spiritual matters require an extra dimension, if they are to be understood, when God tells us he has ‘chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise…’ (I Corinthians 1:27).
He tells us that spiritual realities are ‘…hidden…from the wise and prudent and…revealed to babes…(Matthew 11:24-26)
To understand Spiritual realities we need God’s help big time. – But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (I Corinthians 2/14)
Why should we be surprised that we too, are often unable to understand what God is saying to us today?
We are prone to leaning on our own understanding. Greater than us have also done so. They too have remained ignorant as to what God was saying.
We read in (Hebrews 3:v15): ‘Today if you will hear His voice do not harden your heart’.
If you will hear His voice? We used to say ‘If’… a small word with a big meaning.
If…signifies clearly a certain type of person, – a person who wants to hear.
Do you, do I, want to hear? Well, If… you will hear His voice, here is what to do: …harden not your heart.
That’s a starting point isn’t it?
Something to do in our pursuit of hearing God’s voice.
If we at least have a notion that God is trying to get us to acknowledge that His ‘Still small voice’ is speaking to us, in order to give us understanding – then ‘Harden not your heart’.
What are we to do when God is telling us something we have not yet heard or perceived?
Do not harden your hearts…
Don’t write it off, or close yourself to it, because you don’t understand or perceive He is speaking to you.
At least suspect that He is speaking!
Hardening the heart is what the children of Israel did for forty years. It involves ignoring God or resisting His voice. They wandered aimlessly in unbelief. They would not believe God, nor believe in His goodness. Unbelief is a refusal to accept the voice of God speaking into the spirit of your mind.
“Well He might be speaking to me, but I don’t understand a word of it, so I will not persevere”.
This is hardening the heart.
There is the famous parable of the sower. The sower went out and liberally scattered his seed, it fell on all kinds of different ground.
The ground represented the minds of men and women. The seed was God’s spoken words.
It is not difficult to liken the hard ground to the hardened intellect of unbelieving man.
No penetration. No fruit-bearing. No result.
The good ground in the parable, had one ingredient that made things work. Scripture tells us that the good ground represented those who out of an HONEST heart received the word. (Luke 8:15).
They bore fruit, the word penetrated their open minds, and like Peter they were able to say:
‘You are THE CHRIST the Son of The Living God’
Faith entered their hearts by the supernatural penetration of God’s Word.
‘Faith comes…’ we are told in (Romans 10 v17):
So if it comes, it may not be here yet!
It does arrive at your hearing ears. But what are your ears to hear? ‘…and hearing by the word of God.’
God comes to your ears (through His Word) to enter the spirit of your mind, and create faith that says:
‘I believe what you are saying, and now I understand it’
Thats why we read in (Hebrews 11 v 3): ‘By faith we understand…’
We get increased faith by hearing the word of God, if we harden not our hearts, in turning away from the voice of His word.
But mankind has a hearing problem. Mankind has a problem understanding and perceiving spiritual realities. You may not have understood yet, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?
How then will you come to that place of perceiving it? We perceive by faith. Faith that comes by hearing the word of God.
Peter the fisherman did perceive and understand that Jesus was the Christ. But Jesus was able to tell him, and us, the key to spiritual perception and understanding.
It is revealed in the words that Jesus addressed Peter with when Peter confessed: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”(Matthew 16:16).
Jesus responded with ‘…flesh and blood has not revealed this unto you, but My Father who is in heaven’ v.17
Peter had a Spiritual Revelation. The eyes of his understanding were enlightened. God himself, the God many don’t understand or believe in, touched Peter in the spirit of his mind and convinced him that Jesus, a carpenter from Nazareth, was without a shadow of doubt the incarnate son of The Living God.
Peter had the same revelation that John the Baptist had. The same Almighty Father God enlightened the mind of John. Telling him to look for the one upon whom the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity-Godhead would descend.
The time came and as Jesus rose from the water, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. John was enabled to see this supernaturally.
He was able to see what others could not have taught him, and what others in fact did not immediately understand.
This same Jesus of Nazareth that John saw with enlightened eyes, he would also call: ‘The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’. (John 1:29).
On another occasion after Jesus had gone back to be with the heavenly father, Philip came near to an Ethiopian gentleman who was reading the Bible – and asked him the most important question:
(Acts 8/30): So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
My question to you is ‘Do you understand…?’ Because if you do – your life is about to be transformed…!