Monday, January 14, 2013

Understanding Jesus

By Kristen Leigh Evensen
It struck me the other day that perhaps I have been missing something.
Something very important. Vitally important, in fact. I was sitting in small group with a few other women, talking about what faith looks like in the life of a believer. We began to discuss what it means to truly see Jesus.

Not simply to see Jesus. To see Jesus.

There seems a vast difference between just seeing with our eyes and actually understanding the work and words of Jesus Christ in our day to day lives.

This morning, I returned to this thought. I was reading Matthew 13 (I'm reading through the Bible this year using Bible Eater--it's amazing! Try it out!) and arrived at the parable of the four soils. This parable is one that most people would probably recognize.

But there is a magnificent lesson tucked between the parable and its explanation. It has to do with understanding Jesus.

The disciples ask Jesus why He continuously talks in stories when among the people. He replies:
14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,
‘When you hear what I say,
you will not understand.
When you see what I do,
you will not comprehend.
15 For the hearts of these people are hardened,
and their ears cannot hear,
and they have closed their eyes—
so their eyes cannot see,
and their ears cannot hear,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and let me heal them.'
16 "But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it."


Do you read the variance in this passage? Jesus plainly says that a hardened heart closes us off to our returning to Himself and becoming healed in His presence--major blessings.

I never want that. My heart sinks at the thought. What about you?

We do not want to go throughout our days reading the Word of God, but never allowing it to sink into ours hearts and minds because we think we are too clever. We never want to read convicting words of Jesus, allowing their treasure to roll off our shoulders because we do not recognize the weight of our sins. We never want our spiritual eyes to be closed off to the work He is doing in our lives.

We need understanding. We need healing. In every way, we need Jesus. Therefore, let us pray to understand!

Jesus tells us that a hardened heart produces a few negative traits:
ONE: Hearing His words, but not understanding them.
TWO: Seeing His works, but not perceiving their meaning.
THREE: Being in His presence, but not being able to turn to Him and be healed.

I wonder if, every single day, Jesus has something magnificent to say to us. And we simply miss it because of distraction, busyness or self-sufficiency. Even when I have quiet time, I cannot seem to turn off my brain to its wayward tendencies. I find it hard to read the Word without watching the clock and "staying on schedule" in the morning. I start with the four soils and end with "what's for breakfast?"

I wonder what Jesus would willingly reveal to us if we chose to be still in His presence and listen with our hearts. To truly listen and understand.

Jesus, we are indeed fallen human beings. But You want to reveal so much to us about Yourself and the Kingdom of God! Please open our eyes to truly see, open our ears to truly hear, and soften our hearts to truly understand what you may be saying to us today. We do not want to deny the power of Christ because we are hardened in any way. We long to see You fully, to praise You simply for who You are. May Your Kingdom come, may Your will be done in our lives today.

Amen!

In your experience, what is most difficult about perceiving Jesus? What have you been learning recently as your spend time with Him?

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