Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Do we hear but not hear?

Pisidian Antioch - Illustration from Thomas Lewin's Life of Paul
Pisidian Antioch - Illustrations from Thomas Lewin's Life of Paul

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Acts 13:13-35

TO CHEW ON: "'For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him'" - Acts 13:27

Here Paul is preaching in the Antioch synagogue. In his talk he tells the story of his people and God's dealings with them. He mentions their enslavement in Egypt, their wilderness wanderings, their conquest of Canaan, their rule by judges, their first kings Saul and David. That latter was to be father of Messiah. Then Paul identifies Him—Messiah—as Jesus and describes how their own rulers put Him to death.

What's chilling in the way he tells it is that these leaders should have known better. Because of their exposure to the Prophets "which are read every Sabbath" they should have recognized how Jesus fulfilled prophecies spoken in Isaiah 7:14, 11:1; Micah 5:2; Daniel 9:25; Zechariah 9:9 and elsewhere. But they didn't. What an irony when they ended up fulfilling more of those very prophecies as they condemned Jesus to death: Psalm 69:21; Isaiah 53:1-9.

We too can hear and not hear. Jesus describes such deaf hearing in His parable of the sower. He diagnoses it three ways:
  • People hear but the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts - Luke 8:12.
  • People hear and respond but the response is superficial. Temptation pulls up their shallow-rooted new life - Luke 8:13.
  • People hear but immediately crowd out any chance that the word will germinate with other things: cares, riches, and pleasures - Luke 8:14 (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, the news, TV?).

Perhaps their closed-ear reaction is one reason Paul says one verse earlier: "Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of salvation has been sent" - Acts 13:26 (emphasis added)

We too can prove that this "word of salvation" has been sent to us by fearing God and really hearing and taking His word—about us, our sinful state, how we need a Savior, and how our life will change as we become His disciples—seriously.

PRAYER: Dear God, I don't want to be one of the people exposed to truth but unresponsive to it. Please help me to listen, hear, and 'fear.' Amen.


The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.

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